The article discusses the role played by the character of the novels of Souvestre and Allen Fantomas in the mythologization of that historical and cultural period, which in France is called “Belle époque” – “Beautiful era”. At this time, numerous technical achievements (not just mentioned in the Fantomas novels, but playing a role in the development of the novel plot), rapid urbanization, etc. сrime is increasing, creating an atmosphere of anxiety, giving rise to a feeling of the omnipotence of evil. Fantomas turns out to be the embodiment of a restless time, an elusive and invincible Evil, which is facilitated by various ways of visualizing this “hero without a face”, appearing on posters, illustrations and in film adaptations of novels. Undoubtedly belonging to the field of paraliterature, the Fantomas novels simultaneously attracted the attention of the surrealists, who created their own, ambivalent version of this character. Special attention is paid to the elements of the Gothic in the poetics of these novels. 1 This work has been supported by the grants the Russian Science Foundation, RSF(project N 23-28-01727).
Fantomas; Belle Epoque; symbol; myth; crime; Evil; surrealists; film adaptations; Gothic.