ÉRIC JOURDAN’S Les mauvais anges, or Wicked Angels, was banned in France shortly after its publication in 1955, and the ban was only lifted thirty years later. The story of a sadomasochistic amour fou between two teenage boys was translated into English by Richard Howard in 1963 and titled Two. (This edition is now a rare book.) A translation by Thomas J. D. Armbrecht was published by Harrington Park Press in 2006, a time when Jourdan himself was still living. (He died at 84 in 2015.) I recently found a copy of that translation at the Strand Bookstore and fell in love with Wicked Angels and with the elusive Jourdan himself.
Even Jourdan’s birth date is a mystery. Wikipedia gives it as 1930, though other sources list it at 1938. Being young was important to Jourdan, so perhaps he moved the date forward. He had an older ally in the writer Julien Green (1900–1998), a noted novelist, memoirist, and diarist who adopted Jourdan and provided him with some stability. Green was in his mid-fifties when Jourdan published Wicked Angels. He was gay but conflicted by his religious upbringing, whereas Jourdan was a pagan and an iconoclast who rejected labels and categories.
Dan Callahan is the author of the novel That Was Something (2018) and five books on the art of acting.