This insightful study explores the enthralling world of the fantastic short story in France. Born in the early 1800's of the enormous popularity of the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, the genre flourished again toward the end of the century. The aesthetics of the two periods are quite distinct, the first reflecting the technique of Hoffmann and the second the intervening influence of the equally popular stories of Edgar Allan Poe. The author examines this change from the point of view of the contemporary reader. Of particular value are his textual analyses that demonstrate the differences between the two periods.