Saturday, September 14, 2013

Barnabé Cabard, the French Sweeney Todd


…Weal Pie,” said Mr. Weller, soliloquizing, as he arranged the eatables on the grass. “Werry good thing is a weal pie, when you know the lady as made it, and is quite sure it an’t kittens…” Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers

[T]his French novel called L’auberge des Trois Rois (The Inn of the Three Kings), by Jules Beaujoint, was published by A. Fayard in Paris around the year 1888. It is part of a series called Les auberges sanglantes (The Bloody Inns), among them a very long novel of 1,910 pages, no less, about the famous and authentic case of the Peyrebeilhe inn, in the Ardèche in central France — where the inn’s owners killed off their wealthy clients. In the early 1950s it was the basis of a Fernandel movie, L’Auberge Rouge, directed by Christian-Jaque, recently remade starring Christian Clavier and Josiane Balasko. 

[N]ovel number three in the series, L’auberge des Trois Rois (1289 pages), is about a barber who kills his wealthy clients to have their corpses  used by his (male) accomplice to make meat pastries. They have another accomplice, an old woman, who kidnaps abandoned children in the streets of Paris… The barber’s name is ‘Barnabé Cabard’ and by all evidence, this tale’s an adaptation of an old French crime legend related in other, much older sources. The shocking happening supposedly took place in late 1415, the year Henry V invaded France and won a major British victory at Agincourt. 

[F]or this book a series of gravures was produced that was quite reminiscent of the pictures for the original British Sweeney Todd serial of 1846-47 and the 1880s penny dreadful Sweeney Todd; the Demon Barber. Jules Beaujoint also wrote a romance about Cartouche, the famous French thief. Both Sweeney Todd; the Demon Barber and Cartouche; the French Jack Sheppard had been issued in penny numbers by Charles Fox in London around 1881-82. The full page illustrations, which served as the Fox penny number covers, were a departure from the usual method of having an illustration take up two thirds of a page. 

[J]ames Malcolm Rymer gave Cabard the British name Sweeney Todd in The String of Pearls; a Romance, serialized in Edward Lloyd’s The People’s Periodical in 18 instalments between November 21, 1846, and March 20, 1847.  

See also Sweeney Todd Gallery HERE.
Read Beaujoint’s L’auberge Peirebeilhe HERE.
Read Beaujoint’s Cartouche, roi de voleurs HERE.

Courtesy of Jean-Claude Michel.


1 comment:

  1. How interesting! Had no idea! Thanks again John and Jean-Claude!