Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock
Of Kings and Things. Strange Tales and Decadent Poems
Described by W. B. Yeats as a “scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert, most charming of men,” Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock (1860–1895) is surely the greatest exemplar of the Decadent movement of the late nineteenth century. A friend of Aubrey Beardsley, patron of the extraordinary pre-Raphaelite artist Simeon Solomon, and contemporary of Oscar Wilde, Stenbock died at the age of thirty-six as a result of his addiction to opium and his alcoholism, having published just three slim volumes of suicidal poetry and one collection of morbid short stories.
Stenbock was a homosexual convert to Roman Catholicism and owner of a serpent, a toad, and a dachshund called Trixie. It was said that toward the end of his life he was accompanied everywhere by a life-size wooden doll that he believed to be his son. His poems and stories are replete with queer, supernatural, mystical, and Satanic themes; original editions of his books are highly sought by collectors of recherché literature. [publisher's note]