The Dancing Faun Review

The Dancing Faun by Florence Farr is a short novel, almost a novelette, originally published in 1894. Florence Farr was a London actress who associated with William Butler Yeats. I found a 2006 paperback reprint of this rare book, but it was pretty expensive.

The Dancing Faun
The Dancing Faun

This novel was clearly influenced by Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The author is clearly trying to be as witty and uses the same type of paradoxes. I found this book to be an easy read, unlike say, a Henry James novel which can be quite ponderous.  The dancing faun of the title is a charming cad who has the distinction of not being mediocre. But he treats women poorly by using them for his own advancement. This novel was shocking in its day but it would hardly raise an eyebrow now. The only shocking aspect is the ending. A women the dancing faun hoped to extract money from pulls out a pistol and shoots him dead. I will admit that I did not see this coming since everyone in the novel acts with great decorum compared to modern etiquette. Killing the man hardly seemed necessary to stop the murderer from suffering.

Finding an old, forgotten novel can make for an interesting read. This novel appealed to me because it was written by a participant in the London theater scene of a hundred years ago and more. She was a part of William Butler Yeats crowd in London. Although some feminists have rediscovered this author, she still does not enjoy as much fame as William Butler Yeats.

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