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This fascinating book explores the early 20th century intersections of entertainment and death in Parisian dining establishments.


Focusing primarily on three cabaret-restaurants in the Montmartre district of Paris, Mel Gordon demonstrates how these establishments fascinated and terrified patrons through  multi-sensory experiences portraying Heaven, Hell, and Nothingness. The use of food, optical illusions, sexuality, and morbid curiosities propelled Cabaret du Néant, Cabaret de L’Enfer, and Cabaret du Ciel to infamy, with postcards portraying a glimpse of their morbid motifs acting as a currency of sensationalism. With full-colour (where possible) reproductions of postcards, menus, paintings, brochures, and more included throughout this book, Gordon and Ebenstein present an in-depth exploration of this unique historical phenomenon. Shorter chapters are included at the end of the book on Himmel und Hölle, an example of a similar establishment from Berlin that was open between 1924 and 1933, and The Catacombs, another echo of the Parisian scene which was open in Ohio between 1940 and 1941.


London: Strange Attractor Press, 2024. Paperback, 175 pages. New.

Mel Gordon’s Cabarets of Death - Mel Gordon, Joanna Ebenstein