Bruce Gaston

Published On


Page Range

pp. 33–36


  • English

Print Length

4 pages

The Background

  • Bruce Gaston (author)
Henri Deplis, a commercial traveller from Luxembourg, is working in Italy when he unexpectedly inherits some money from a distant relative. Prompted by his new wealth, he has his back tattooed by a renowned tattoo artist. Unfortunately, he has already squandered most of his inheritance and cannot pay the bill. The artist dies and his widow presents the artwork to the municipality of Bergamo. In consequence, Deplis suffers a number of interferences from the Italian authorities, who consider the tattoo an important artwork. Deplis finds himself prevented from leaving Italy, as he neither owns the picture nor possesses an export license for it. These experiences lead him into radical politics and the tattoo is damaged in a fight with another anarchist, after which he is expelled from the country as a politically undesirable person. He ends his days in Paris suffering under the delusion that he is one of the lost arms of the Venus de Milo.


Bruce Gaston


Bruce Gaston has taught at the English Department of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany since 2008. His current research interests focus on British and Irish literature, culture and history in the first half of the twentieth century. He blogs about Saki and related issues at