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three pairs of lovers with space



Un galop d’enfer. Journal 1977-78 (A Gallop from Hell. Journal 1977-1978) is the sixth of the published journals of the prize-winning French writer Gabriel Michel Hippolyte Matzneff (born 12 August 1936). It was published by La Table Ronde in Paris in 1985.

Matzneff’s three stays in Tunisia in 1976-8 are the subject of a separate article, as is his first stay in the Philippines in 1978. Otherwise, all the passages of Greek love interest in A Gallop from Hell are presented here. They were all written in his home city of Paris except where stated otherwise. The translation is this website’s.



But I, who am always submissive to tender Love, Venus herself will lead to hell.



Naples AM. Young Tiberius. 1st 2
A young Tiberius

Written while Matzneff was staying in Lyon, still on his way back to Paris, following his holiday in Tunisia:

Thursday 6 [January]. […] At the museum, the admirable bronze Claudian table. A dionysiac sarcophagus. A young Tiberius who resembles Olivier a little. [p. 17]

Matzneff arrived back in Paris on 8 January …

     Monday 10 January. […]
     This morning, break up with Olivier (who is now fourteen). Half an hour after our argument on the telephone, I am seized with the desire to call him again. It’s all me. However, given his reluctance (the way he hung up on me on 20 December), it was better that I was the first to draw a line under our affair.
     When a being who is in my life stops loving me, desiring me, needing my presence, I find it hard to accept. I should, however, have got used to this fatal degradation of feelings, but I hardly get used to it: it’s the first time every time. [p. 19]   

     Wednesday, in the dermatologist’s waiting room. One should write down everything, yesterday my lunch with Pierre Boutang[1], then the love-making with Françoise, the evening, when René Schérer[2] and I wrote the text of our appeal on behalf of the three prisoners of Versailles.[3] This morning, Thanh, it’s the second time in three days that she’s telephoned me first, my conversation with Lapassade[4], with Gagnebin (who agrees to sign our appeal, then retracts), with Hélène Cixous, soft voice but she lacks a bit of simplicity (she refuses to sign, because of the erotic photos that she takes for a theft, an appropriation), with Christiane Rochefort[5], infinitely more spontaneous. […]
     Wednesday and Thursday, two days during which I will have done little more than telephone everyone to collect signatures in favor of G. and his friends.[6] To explain, to convince. Sollers, Guyotat and Faye among the men, Rochefort and Valabrègue among the women,[7] were the warmest. Overall, everyone seemed happy to have me on the phone, moved by the condition of the three prisoners, and also surprised because Matzneff in an activist deed is a rare sight. […]

     Thursday [20th], Béatrice didn’t come to my home alone. She brought two little [male] friends, of whom one, Gilles, is of a fascinating beauty. […]

Foucault Michel. 1974
Michel Foucault

     Marguerite Duras and Xaviere Gauthier also refuse to sign our appeal, and for reasons similar to those of Hélène Cixous. I am convinced that if these had been women having seduced teenage girls, and not men having had sex with young boys, they would have signed up.
     To sleep with very young people by violence or by trickery, yes, it is rape; but when there is reciprocity of desire and a lasting affair, where the devil do you see rape? This is no longer feminism, this is bad faith.
     Michel Foucault[8], who takes himself very seriously (but what do these college professors think they are?), having refused to sign our appeal, I wrote him an unpleasant and mocking letter. The poor sissy complained to René Schérer. At the latter’s request, I phone Foucault to smooth things over. It’s funny, he has a falsetto voice. First, your aggressive Trissotin[9], vain and outraged at the lack of respect I show him, then he relaxes, and ends up laughing with me. We part on the best terms. […]

Wednesday 26 January […] 
     Our appeal appeared yesterday in Le Monde and this morning in Libération. If one considers the little time we had, Schérer and me, to lead this fight, it’s a fine victory.

Yesterday, after having an interview with Me. Lafon, D.’s lawyer (Léonard was accompanying me), I went to Carita’s. […]

     27 January. The G. trial at Versailles. I was not wrong to speak of victory: from the outset, the prosecutor declared that he would not ask for a closed session (de rigueur in sex cases) because of the appeal published in the press and signed by about sixty personalities. He does not want us to be able to accuse Justice of returning its verdicts on the sly.
     The lawyer for the civil party takes the floor: he is severe and eloquent.
     The prosecutor: “Every father, every mother can ask himself if he is sure of the inviolability of the chastity of his children.”
     In the room, many people who would have good reasons to be behind bars. When I think of my conversation this morning with Jacques S., and compare it to what is being said this afternoon at the assizes of Versailles, I am struck by the angelism of society, its ignorance of the real life of adolescents of both sexes. We’re not out of the woods...

     28 January. Superb argument from Me. Lafon. G. and the other two walked free from the courthouse ― free after three years of preventive detention![10] When I think it’s thanks to my article in Le Monde, “Is Love a Crime?”[11] that their trial has finally taken place, this evening I experience a feeling close to bliss. In my novels, I tend to blacken myself: this action allows me to believe that I am not as selfish and bad as I think myself. […]

Matzneff. LAmour 
Matzneff's article in Le Monde, "Is love a crime?"

     Who am I? A vegetarian who eats meat, an atheist who is still in the church, and a heterosexual who likes little boys (31 January).

     31 January, in the evening, at the Camionneurs, where I wait for Pia. Week divided between the worry of the G. affair and my loves – these uniformly hetero, which would surprise, I think, most of the pedophiles who have lately seen me being active for the “cause”. [pp. 22-6]

     Thursday 10 [February]. I emerge from ten days of half-non-life. Horse fever and atrocious headaches. What is staying afloat? The visits of handsome Gilles, the unexpected telephone call of Olivier last Wednesday, and his visit (when he showed himself jealous of Françoise, who was at my bedside), the absence of Thanh[12], who misses me, my recklessness, […]

     At noon, lunch alone at the Wagon-Salon. Nice conversation with Jérôme Lindon[13] (he has his napkin ring there, like me), who congratulates me on my text Is love a crime? and our appeal. “If an act has political significance these days, it’s yours,” he said to me.
     My indifference to the attacks of which I’m the object is not feigned. My life is elsewhere. This afternoon, in Anne’s arms, how futile seemed the attacks on me that at the same time thousands of people were reading in Le Monde. To tell the truth, I didn’t think about it then. It is now, at the Cammioneurs, where I am dining alone, that I think about it with a smile. [pp. 28-9]

     Great gods! Have I noted here, besides the visits of Olivier and Gilles, Francesca[14]’s telephone call, 5 February, about 7 p.m., when Françoise had just left and I was waiting for Alexandra’s visit? [pp. 31-2]

     Wednesday 16 [February …]

     Yesterday evening, dinner with Guy Hocquengham in René Schérer’s home, both charming.

Saturday, place de la Contrescape, waiting for Jacques S., with whom I lunch. Tuesday evening, a little phrase of Schérer’s apprised me that he too is convinced that I am homosexual, and that if I talk of girls in The Under Sixteens, it is for the sake of equilibrium, symmetry. That makes me smile, for it’s precisely the opposite which is true, in the same way that yesterday Isabelle P. made me smile when she told me while putting her clothes back on, after three hours with me in my bed:

“Ah well! For someone who only likes little boys, you don’t do badly at all!” […]

     Thursday [24th …] S.[15] told me the way he detached himself from a boy (of whom he spoke to me with passion in December) following a disillusionment, a betrayal. [pp. 33-4]

     Wednesday [18 March], I didn’t make love with anyone, but I had a call from little Olivier, who will come to my home on Thursday after school, and in the evening I’ll see Pauline again.

14 in Paris flat 1977 d1

     Thursday 17. […] At fourteen years old, Olivier is as pretty as when he was twelve. I caress him. We make love. I come in his fresh little bottom. […]

     Friday 18. […] This afternoon I was at René Schérer’s to “militate” our letter to the Commission of Reform of the Penal Code. Returning home, I found under my door a word from Olivier who, one of his teachers being absent, left school early. It’s truly such a shame! Instead of being at René’s to militate in favour of the under-sixteens, I would have done better to have stayed at home to open the door for my under-sixteen! I who always prefer practice to theory, and kisses to words about kisses, for once I put the spirit before the flesh, and the idea before the incarnation, here I am well punished. […]

     Today, with this quintet formed by Béatrice, Thanh, Pauline, Anne and Olivier, there’s no place in my heart for nostalgia. […]

     Monday 28. I’m very tired. Back pain. Thanh + Pauline + Béatrice + Olivier, it’s even more absorbing than Francesca alone, at least in terms of body energy. […]

     Thursday [31 March]. Amorous afternoon with Olivier. His mouth and his body offered, the tip of his tongue, his adorable cock. I love his pleasure as much as my own.
     He was reluctant to undress, because he had not taken a shower; but the smell of his boyish skin—the skin of a fourteen-year-old boy after a day at high school—did not displease me. Did I have as much fun with him this afternoon as in the preceding nights with Pauline? The trouble may be greater, and also the excitement of transgression, but the pleasure and fulfilment of sharing are less.
     When Olivier arrived, I told him about Dominique[16]’s death, and told him that I was going to Charente to bury him. “Are you going to dig the grave with your shovel?” he asked me. He’s a kid, he doesn’t realise, and I don’t blame him, but I compare it with the delicacy with which Pauline, who, though she did not know Dominique, helps me to live through this tragedy. Women are something else.
     It is in the arms of women, and not in those of little boys, that I will have lived the decisive moments of my human adventure. [pp. 41-6]

     Friday 13 May. Dinner at Alexandre[17]’s, with Schérer and Hocquengham. […]

19 youth  17 girl in Paris restaurant 1977 d1 

     My dinner of Thursday the 12th with Béatrice and Giuseppe. What a response to the detractors of “pedophilia”! This boy I slept with when he was fifteen, this girl who was my mistress when she was sixteen, and who now live together. Extreme sweetness between us. Tenderness and complicity. I am no longer their lover, but I certainly remain their best friend, and I, too, have complete confidence in them. […]
     Alexandre speaks of the boys he flirts with, or rather that he pays to come to his bed, as he would speak of a piece of cloth that he would choose from the tailor:
     “This is the best quality.”
     “This thing, I would do it well.”
     One day, in a novel, I will show the philopeds in action, and amongst themselves. Terrible portrait. But it is the truth that is terrible; it is that which, as the Russian proverb says, “stings the eyes”. [pp. 54-5]

     Thursday 23. […]
     In the evening, Michel Foucault, with whom I dine at René Schérer’s, […]
     We are working on our open letter to the Commission for Reform of the Penal Code. The final text will be signed by Guy Hocquenghem, René Schérer, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and me.[18]     After our reconciliation on the telephone, I sent Foucault Like Fire Mixed with Aromatics.[19] He tells me that he has been keenly interested in the pages where I show that the supposed freedom of morals of pagan society is an illusion, that Greek and Roman paganism had no need to undergo the influence of Christianity in order to chastise libertines and link the notion of impurity to the sexual act. [p. 61]

     Wednesday 20 July. […] Received a letter from Nadia and another from little Olivier. On the other hand, silence from Marion. In the evening, at the Camionneurs, amusing scene: at my usual table, Pauline and me; at a nearby table, Béatrice, Giuseppe and his father. My two young accomplices made into strangers. What mischief to bring the daddy to the den of the big bad wolf.

Tonight, letter to Olivier, long letter to Nadia. [p. 69]

On 26 July, Matzneff went to Tunisia. Readers wishing to read Matzneff’s journals in chronological order should here return to Matzneff in Tunisia, 1976-8. He returned to France on 13 August.

     Saturday, 20 August. [… , describing an evening spent with a German woman reader, who at forty was too old for GM’s taste] At dinner, I alluded to my taste for little boys, so that she does not feel my reserve as an insult. [p. 95]

13 boy  girl on Paris metro 1977 d1 

     Yesterday, on the underground, two blond kids, the brother and the sister, very tanned, very beautiful, sublime, and their mother. Except for them and me, in the train carriage, there were only Negroes and Arabs: four Vikings surrounded by Africa. The two adolescents and their mother were speaking, curiously, Greek and French. I would gladly have followed them, approached them, but I was expected by Bott and Jaccard, and then my private life is so crowded, so cluttered, that I find it hard to see myself getting a new adventure on my hands (not to say on my back, the ― charming ― radiologist from the ― Champs-Elysées medical center, when I asked her yesterday if I could make love, replied: “Yes, but without excess!”). In the end, what was beautiful in this scene with the blonds was the ephemerality, the unreality, the magic.

     Friday [9th …]
     As for Olivier, if he has returned to Paris, he seems in no hurry to see me again. He will be fifteen on the 18th October. He considers perhaps that at this age he should stop sleeping with me. […]

     Sunday at Deligny[20]. At the end of the afternoon, I come across Olivier! Consternation: grown, become ugly, dull, pointed, mute, distant, hostile. An almost vulgar voice. This is the word of King Ferrante on the butterfly that has become a caterpillar. It saddened me, but ultimately less than I would have thought. Coming out of the swimming pool, fleeting encounter in the 63 with a young Lebanese woman and a little blond boy with blue eyes (but I do not follow up). [pp. 108-10]

     Tuesday morning [20 September]. I make love with Béatrice from ten to noon. She is now seventeen, and it is with great pleasure that I rediscover her adolescent body. Besides the natural path, I took her for the first time like a little boy. Until then I had never thought about it. She took it very well. [p. 115]

     Saturday 5 November, […]
     The secondary school boys, the only ones I know, pay me no attention, and I, I don’t take a step towards them. [pp. 131-2]

7 November:

     The unknown boy or girl with whom I flirt on a street corner, in a bus, at the Luco, it doesn’t matter when or where, that is what sustains life. [p. 134]

     29 December. […] 11:50. In the woods. I go on foot, in the direction of Roger Peyrefitte’s home, where I lunch.[21] […]

     My great events of the year 1977:

[…] In the political sphere: our combat in favour of the revision of the articles of the Penal Code touching on the private life of minors, boys and girls. [pp. 152-3]



15 girl in Paris apartment 1978 d1

     Saturday 7 [January], […] The afternoon with Maria was as delicious as I had expected. As she had her period – which proves she uses contraceptives, and that’s reassuring, we couldn’t make love the classic way, but I possessed her the way one does with boys, she accepts it moreover always with pleasure, and we also did all the rest. I adore seeing her kid mouth engulf my organ. Softly sucked by this child, I was thinking that Francesca wouldn’t have done better. While we were occupied in love games, someone rang on the door. We held our breaths. It was very exciting. How many times, with an adolescent of either sex in my bed, I’ve already been in this situation! But each time, it’s the same sensation of worry (a parent? a cop? another jealous young person?) mixed with drunkenness. [pp. 158-9]

     Sunday 26 February. [… Matzneff has influenza:] A difference from last year: it’s not Françoise and the little Olivier who cared for me, but Pauline and D. [p. 170]

     Tuesday [7 March], before rejoining D., I lunched with Hervé Guibert[22], still handsome and charming, despite his age. When I warned him that I had to leave him at two on account of a love tryst, he asked me: “Is it a young boy?” I don’t know why, I replied: “Yes”. Now, if D., with her flat chest and narrow hips, has in effect something of a pretty androgyne, she’s not a kid of thirteen, but a mother of twenty-eight! […]

     Saturday, 11 March. […] Yesterday, unsatisfactory day. First of all, the television debate on the prostitution of minors, where I was opposed to the boss of the Quai de Gesvres, the Controller-General Lefeuvre.
     “I’d rather see you in the studios of Cognacq-Jay Street than in your office on the Quaie de Gesvres!” I told him, smiling.
     “One doesn’t prevent the other,” he answered me tit for tat, without smiling. The programme was in the image of this chilling preamble. I wasn’t good, I had staircase wit.
     It’s true, I sleep with minors, but what have I to do with prostitution? All the young beings who come into my bed come there out of desire, or for love, but assuredly not through venality. […]

     Monday 13. I scribble this in the drawing-room of Roger Peyrefitte, with whom I am lunching. It’s 12:30, I’m early, and Roger hasn’t yet returned from his daily walk in the woods. [pp. 173-5]

     Saturday 1st April. […] The feminists who identify pedophile seduction as rape believe themselves to be avant-garde, but they merely align themselves with the most obtuse provisions of the penal code, which denies adolescents the possibility of consensual love. [p. 182]

     We are the 7th April. The day before yesterday, I lunched at the Camionneurs with Béatrice, Maria and Giuseppe: there exists between these three adolescents, of whom I have been or am the lover, and me a unique complicity, beyond words; [p. 184]

     Sunday 4 June. In yesterday morning’s mail, a press cutting in an Argus envelope informed me that I am “Montherlant’s old boyfriend”.[23] Charming! One wonders where the journalists will tap into such nonsense, There, one reaches absolute delirium. And it’s not from a specialist slander sheet such as Minute, but from la Raison!
     My first reaction was of fury, but the second of laughter. How stupid they are! I who only love young girls and very young boys, who even in my adolescence only had love affairs with people much younger than me, to imagine myself rollicking with Montherlant, who was sixty-two when I knew him, for that one must be of a rare debility. Which proves that it is not enough to bash the priest ― la Raison’s number one speciality ― to escape the most sonorous, most filthy imbecility. [p. 204]

14 w. parents in Paris restaurant 1978 d1 U

     Thursday 10 [August. …] At the Camionneurs, I saw for the first time Thierry, the best friend of Guy and Jacqueline’s son Christian. This Thierry is fourteen or fifteen, and he is of marvellous beauty. [p. 228]

     On the night of the 11th to 12th, I dreamed of Olivier and of Béatrice (erotic dream); [p. 230]

     Friday 15 September. At ten to eight, call from Maria, who, like all secondary school students in the Paris region, is going back to class today, but who, before her first lesson, takes the time to drop by my home, so that we can make love for the last time before this new school year.
     Francesca, Olivier, how many similar phone calls have I had in recent years! It is one of the extraordinary charms of the life of the pedophile ― otherwise so trying and uncertain ― that these morning visits, these fresh little bodies which, while you are still misty from sleep, arrive at your house, undress hastily, and, slipping into your bed like bleaks in the fisherman’s trap, live moments of pleasure in your arms, before going to join their classmates.
          […] Afterwards, […] I’ll go to the swimming-pool, then to SOS-Enfants, where I have a rendez-vous with Bertand.[24] [p. 242]

On 30 September, Matzneff went to Tunisia. Readers wishing to read Matzneff’s journals in chronological order should here return to Matzneff in Tunisia, 1976-8. He returned to France on 5 October.

     Friday 6. […]
     I had an appointment at 6 p.m. with Léonidas, a thirteen-year-old boy whom Bertrand introduced to me at SOS Children, but, with the flu, he cancelled: shortly before 6 he called me, feverish or allegedly feverish ― because, since yesterday when I called him as soon as I returned from Tunisia, he may have been warned against me. So I was dismasted. My end of the day was losing its meaning. What to do? Work? I didn’t have the slightest desire. Dinner with friends? No more. Telephone a girlfriend? Very quickly, I was torn between the desire to look for a date and the desire to speak with Cioran who, since Montherlant’s suicide, is with Hergé[25] one of the only two elders with whom I can speak, with whom I really want to speak. [pp. 250-2]

     Friday [20 October …] Dinner at René Schérer’s home. Guy Hocquenghem was there. Warm, friendly evening. At René’s home, I feel good. When I’m there, I don’t want to leave. […]

 Matzneff 1978
Matzneff in 1978

     Saturday 4 November. The evening of the day before yesterday, Alexandre treated me at the Epicurien, a restaurant in the rue de Nesles. He has faults that annoyed me in Tunisia, summer ’77. [Matzneff describes his faults and then what they have in common].
     When we got acquainted in 1975 (he was wanting to meet the author of Isaiah Rejoice and The Under-Sixteens), he would not believe in my feminine loves. At present, he has tilted in the opposite extreme: having seen me live, he no longer doubts the existence of my secondary school girls, but he does not believe that I can also have, when the case arises, the taste for little boys. Thursday, at the Epicurean, he teased me again:
     “Why are you going to Manila? There are only boys there. Girls, it’s a lot harder, and you’ll get in trouble. You’d do better to stop in Bangkok…”
     I listened to him, and, as often when he adopts his paternalistic tone, I was beginning to lose my temper. Sure, he’s nine years older than me, but this way of explaining to me what I should do is infuriating in the long run.

     On Friday morning, I phoned Léonard des Sables[26] to tell him that if he was still leaving for the Philippines, so was I. He welcomed this news with joy, and confessed to me that if I had been held back by typing my diary, he would have given up on leaving, because undertaking such a long journey alone frightened him. […]

     Friday 10 [November. …] At the end of the day, Léonard des Sables and I, we bought our airplane tickets for Manila.  We leave on 14 December by a regular Air France flight. How tonic it is to make a decision! Leaving the agent, we were feeling happy, and light, light … [pp. 259-63]

     Sunday, 3 [December. …] Yesterday, sweet reunion with Maria. We made love at length.
     “I hurt you?” I asked her in possessing her like a little boy.
     “No, I love all your caresses,” she murmured. [p. 274-5]

Continue to Matzneff in the Philippines, 1978.    


[1] Pierre Boutang (1916-98) was a philosopher.

[2] René Schérer (1922-2023) was another eminent philosopher, apparently boysexual: he had been the lover of the writer Guy Hocquenghem (1946-88) when the latter was fifteen, and he had expressed the desire to get to know Matzneff on Matzneff publishing his revelatory The Under-Sixteens. They had met soon afterwards and were to remain close friends. Some trivial references to Schérer and Hocquenghem,, eg. on pp. 273, 277, are not included in these extracts.

[3] The three prisoners of Versailles were Bernard Dejager, Dr. Jean-Claude Gallien and Jean Burckhardt, who had been arrested on 20 October 1973 on charges of sexual intercourse with two expressly-willing boys and one girl aged 13 and 14 at a naturist camping site in the Meudon forest, and with taking erotic photographs of them there. They had been held untried in preventive custody for the ensuing three years and three months.

[4] Georges Lapassade (1924-2008) was a French philosopher and sociologist, and one of the signatories of the appeal.

[5] Christiane Rochefort (1917-98) was a feminist novelist who signed the appeals of both 26 January and 23 May.

[6] Anyone suffering from the delusion that mainstream and widely respected 21st-century sources of popular “information” can be trusted not to lie through their teeth in order to fool their readers into believing the mendacious dominant narrative on Greek love should try reading, for example, the French Wikipedia article on Matzneff, where (as of 15 February 2024) it is pretended, in flagrant contradiction of the passage quoted here and published in 1985, that “Matzneff did not reveal that he was the author of this petition until thirty-six years later.” Further it is pretended that most of the signatories had signed “without knowing that Gabriel Matzneff had taken part in drafting the text,” thereby insinuating that they would not have signed it if they had known (as A Gallop from Hell proves they did) that a man they knew loved boys and girls had been behind it. No end of media accounts can easily be found supporting the pretences of the most cowardly and hypocritical of them not to have understood what they were signing or to have known of Matzneff’s involvement.

[7] Philippe Sollers (1936-2023) was an eminent writer and critic. Pierre Guyotat (1940-2020) was another radical writer. Jean-Pierre Faye (born 1925) was a philosopher and novelist. Catherine Valabrègue (1917-99) was an actress and militant feminist. All these people were among the sixty-one distinguished intellectuals who signed the appeal of 26 January published in Le Monde in support of “the three prisoners of Versailles.”

[8] Foucault (1926-84) was probably the most influential of all the French philosophers and historians of ideas of his day, especially regarding sex. Although he was not one of the signatories of the appeal of 26 January, he did sign the similar open letter of 23 May to the commission for the revision of the penal code and became one of the foremost intellectuals to speak out against the prevailing ages of consent as unjustly repressive, for example in a broadcast by France Culture on April 4, 1978.

[9] Trissotin was a ridiculous pedantic scholar in Molière‘s play Les Femmes savantes (1672).

[10] The three defendants were found guilty and could have been sentenced to up to ten years’ imprisonment, but were instead sentenced to five years each, of which two years were suspended. Hence, having already been imprisoned for more than three years, they were released.

[11] This article, published on 8 November 1976, had denounced the injustice of the laws criminalising sex with adolescents, and of the consequent harsh treatment of the “three prisoners of Versailles”.

[12] Thanh-Binh N.,  a “new conquest” and a “very expert mistress”, was a Vietnamese student with whom Matzneff had been having an affair since 19 September 1976, when she was twenty-five, and a month after his final rupture with Francesca Gee. He often described Thanh as the only mistress who could make him forget Francesca.

[13] Jérôme Lindon (1925-2001) was head of the Parisian publishing house, Les Éditions de minuit, which did not publish any of Matzneff’s writings.

[14] Francesca Gee, with whom Matzneff had had a three-year love affair, when she was aged 15 to 18, ending acrimoniously in September 1976. Evidence of the emotional hold she still had on him appears throughout this journal, for example: “she was, and still remains today, after a year of separation, the greatest passion of my life, the only woman who totally captivated me, bewitched me. […] She will have been the being I loved most in the world. [p. 150]”

[15] S. seems to refer to René Schérer, the last person mentioned with such an initial, though this is not quite clear.

[16] Matzneff’s friend the writer and publisher Dominique de Roux (1935-77) had just died of a heart attack.

[17] Matzneff’s friend the boysexual Parisian lawyer Alexandre Constant Joseph Rozier (born 20 October 1927 at Caluire-et-Cuire; murdered 30 August 1984 in Ceylon), with whom he had been in Tunisia at the beginning of the year.

[18] This letter, of which extracts were published in Le Monde on 23 May 1977, was similar in tone to the letter of 26 January, pleading for abolition of the laws criminalising sex involving willing adolescents (heterosex with anyone under fifteen, homosex with boys under eighteen and very loosely defined “abduction” of anyone under eighteen). It was signed by eighty eminent intellectuals, including the five Matzneff here mentions.

[19] Comme le feu mêlé d'aromates: récit (Like fire mixed with aromatics: story) was a story by Matzneff not published until 1989.

[20] Deligny was a floating swimming-pool on the Seine in Paris frequented by Matzneff and where he often got to know girls and boys, leading to liaisons.

[21] The writer Roger Peyrefitte (1907-2000) was the best-known French pederast then living, being the author of several books with pederastic themes, above all his award-winning Les Amitiés Particulières (Special Friendships). There are several other references to him in Le galop d’enfer (including another lunch with him mentioned on p. 257) that are not included in these extracts.

[22] Hervé Guibert (1955-91) was a novelist and photographer.

[23] Henry de Montherlant (1895-1972), an eminent author and boysexual, whose writings include the play La Ville dont le prince est un enfant (1952) and the novel Les Garçons (The Boys), published in 1969. Matzneff had had a close, albeit stormy, friendship with him from when they met in 1957 until Montherlant’s suicide.

[24] SOS-Enfants had been founded in September 1977 by Matzneff’s friend, the journalist and child liberationist Bertrand Boulin (1948-2002). A sort of Samaritans for children in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, it helped eight thousand children, runaways or children who simply needed confidential help. It disbanded in 1979 after coming under legal harassment and even physical attack on its premises due to Boulin’s radical stand on children’s freedom.

[25] Hergé was the pen name of Georges Remi (1907-83), the author of The Adventures of Tintin, the greatest series of comic books ever. The main character of the title was a teenage boy reporter, whose best friend and travelling companion was a middle-aged bachelor. A central theme of three of the books (The Blue Lotus, Prisoners of the Sun and Tintin in Tibet) was emotionally-intense friendships struck up between Tintin and much younger local boys encountered during his adventures.
     Matzneff had admired Hergé since boyhood. Hergé first contacted him in November 1964, after Matzneff published an admiring article about Tintin, and this led to a lifelong friendship. See the article “Entre Hergé et Matzneff, une amitié improbable” by Jérôme Dupuis in L’Express, 16 February 2020. In A Gallop from Hell, Matzneff mentioned two dinners with Hergé and the much younger Fanny Vlamynck, “the most exquisite couple I know” (p. 21), at the second of which, Matzneff joyfully introduced them to one of his girl loves (p. 272). In the same journal, he described Hergé as “one of the only two elders with whom I can speak, with whom I really want to speak.” (p. 252). Fanny became Hergé’s mistress in 1956 and his second wife in 1972. Matzneff was devastated by the death of Hergé, whom he described as “a spiritual father” he loved more than his real father. “He loved you so much,” Fanny told him when they spoke that day. She had been trying to telephone Matzneff from the day Hergé fell into a coma, and imagined his being away was due to his being “in the Philippines” (My Broken Down Loves, pp. 50-1 & 60).
     Long before this, Matzneff’s love affairs with pubescent girls and boys had been well-known as the subject of his published work, so it is reasonable to infer from all the foregoing that, at the very least, the creator of Tintin did not share the growing public hysteria about Greek love.
     The frequent further references in the journals to Matzneff’s meetings and friendship with Hergé are mostly omitted from this website’s extracts. They also corresponded.

[26] Presumably the Léonard des Sables who wrote “Résultats d‘une enquête auprès d’un groupe de pederasts”, published in 1976-7 in Arcadie issues 276 pp. 650-657 and 277 pp.35-45.