La Signification du masque chez Jean Lorrain

Renewed interest in Lorrain is attributable to current favor of art nouveau and to contemporary social anguishes and conduct paralleling those documented by Lorrain. Preoccupation with appearances is everywhere evident in an author who exploits masks on various levels: structural masks, with the interposition of second narrators; linguistic masks ranging from gutter French to sophisticated anagrams; social masks, as best evidenced by the pseudonym Jean Lorrain (for Paul Duval). Masks for this mask became necessary as the journalist's poisoned pen stabbed away at all and sundry, including such targets as France, Proust, and Montesquiou. Nor were the masks of paint, dye and sartorial refinements neglected by Lorrain the man and his fictional characters in their efforts to deceive both others and themselves. Penetrating social and physical masks becomes an obsession in Lorrain's real and literary worlds, a game in which the eyes constitute virtually the only reliable point of reference. (WLM)

McLendon, Will L
Volume 1978-1979 Fall-Winter; 7(1-2): 104-14.