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Eric Stenbock

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Eric Stenbock, writer of decadent and macabre fiction and poetry.

Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock (March 12, 1858- April 26, 1895) was a Swedish poet and writer of macabre fantastic fiction.

Stenbock was the count of Bogesund and the heir to an estate near Kolga in Estonia. He was the son of Lucy Sophia Frerichs, a Manchester cotton heiress, and Count Erich Stenbock, of a distinguished Swedish noble family which rose to prominence in the service of Gustav Vasa. Eric's father died suddenly while he was one year old; his properties were held in trust for him by his grandfather Magnus. Eric's paternal grandfather died while Eric was quite young, also, in 1866, leaving him another trust fund.

Eric attended Balliol College in Oxford but never completed his studies. While at Oxford, Eric was deeply influenced by the homosexual Pre-Raphaelite artist and illustrator Simeon Solomon. He is also said to have had a relationship with the composer and conductor Norman O'Neill. In 1885, Count Magnus died, upon which Eric, as the oldest living male relative, succeeded to the title of Count and to the family's estates in Estonia. Eric travelled and lived in Kolga for a year and a half; he returned to England in the summer of 1887, during which time he sank deeper into alcoholism and drug addiction.

Stenbock lived in England most of his life, and wrote his works in the English language. He published a number of books of verse during his lifetime, including Love, Sleep, and Dreams, 1881, and Rue, Myrtle, and Cypress, 1883. In 1894, Stenbock published The Shadow of Death, his last volume of verse, and Studies of Death, a collection of short stories that were good enough to be the subject of favourable comment by H. P. Lovecraft.

In 1895, Stenbock died in England, either of cirrhosis of the liver, or from a blow to the head from a fall.

The band Current 93 made an album of the same name of incidental music inspired by Stenbock's Faust story.

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