“The Adventures of Arsenio Lupine”, by Maurice LeBlanc: before the manga and before Netflix

Review by Patrick Bateman

Among the most interesting news of this 2021 just started on the variegated Netflix schedule is the all-French series "Lupine" (played by Omar Sy and produced by Gaumont ) which is inspired and updates the figure of the well-known gentleman thief. The same gentleman thief was then a source of inspiration for the protagonist of the manga "Lupine III" , published for the first time in 1967 and the subject of countless anime adaptations. Certainly this mysterious and elegant figure, straddling the thin wall between good and evil, has for more than a century fed many more or less direct eponyms but not many people know that Arsenio Lupine was born from the mind of the French writer Maurice LeBlanc and that, if it had depended solely on its creator, it would have been a mere exercise in style or a little more.

In fact, in 1905, the publisher and friend Pierre Lafitte commissioned a story from LeBlanc that could meet the tastes of the public, and the author, riotous, wrote almost in one go "The arrest of Arsenio Lupine" , which immediately proved to be a success as great as surprising. These are the years of the Belle Epoque, and even the readers are cloaked in a certain frivolity, tired of the bitter bourgeois satire and realism and eager to veer towards the paths of the imaginary and the detective, entertaining themselves with a thief hunt or with a investigation apparently without solution.

"The Adventures of Arsenio Lupine" (released for the first time in 1907 and reprinted by Newton Compton Editori in conjunction with the release of the Netflix series) is the first collection of short stories starring the gentleman thief and, needless to say, collects a success such as to indissolubly tie LeBlanc's pen to his lucky creature, who will accompany him with his vicissitudes until his death in 1941.

The figure of this sui generis criminal fascinates by grace and subtlety, both in his manner and in his actions. In fact, Lupine is not a vulgar bag-cutter or a thug from the slums; his hands are never stained with blood and in perpetrating his amazing blows he always turns an eye to justice and fairness. We are not really dealing with a Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to the poor, but his figure is definitely far from that of an amoral and unscrupulous being who only aims to get rich. Transformation and elegance in subterfuge are his trademark, and they are flanked by a use of logic and deduction equal only to Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective given by the equally successful pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In these first nine stories we witness an arrest with sensational evasion, a precious necklace mysteriously disappeared, a strange encounter with a stranger and many other tasty plots that have as common denominator the cunning villain in tailcoat. LeBlanc's writing is dry and sharp, and slavishly follows the winks of its protagonist, who like any self-respecting hero (?) Tends to monopolize the reader's attention with his behavior and his charisma. More than a hundred years after this first publication, Lupine continues to influence literature and cinema without being affected by the passage of time, offering new and old readers a lively reading and a point of view that is tasty at the antipodes compared to the logic of traditional thriller.

The post “The Adventures of Arsenio Lupine”, by Maurice LeBlanc: before the manga and before Netflix appeared first on Atlantico Quotidiano .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/recensioni/le-avventure-di-arsenio-lupin-di-maurice-leblanc-prima-del-manga-e-prima-di-netflix/ on Sat, 20 Feb 2021 04:53:00 +0000.