Ben Hecht's Fantazius Mallare: A Mysterious Oath.
"A novel of decadence
in the tradition of Against Nature
by Joris Karl Huysmans
, Fantazius Mallare is the story of a mad recluse- a gifted sculptor and painter- who is at war with reality. Watching his genius die, Mallare retreats into a world of hallucination
, which becomes more real than life itself. He believes he should have been a God..." (Quoted from the introduction to the 1978 HBJ reprint).
First published in 1922 in a numbered edition of 2025 (2000 of which were intended only for private distribution), the book was declared obscene by the United States government who confiscated and destroyed the most of the press run.
A sequel was written in 1924, The Kingdom of Evil : A Continuation of the Journal of Fantazius Mallare. Ben Hecht then went on to a successful career as a screenwriter (including Wuthering Heights and Spellbound), director, producer, playwright, and novelist.
Fantazius Mallare - Book I
Fantazius Mallare - Book II
Fantazius Mallare - Book III