It has always seemed to me that, in the literature of the 19th century, the guillotine and syphilis were bound, as both major monsters of that imaginary. However, what is the relationship between the death device and the bacterial infection ? The article focuses on this link, present since the beginning, since it is a surgeon, Antoine Louis, who is the genuine inventor of the machine. The « surgical gesture » is of capital importance. Balzac, Hugo, Janin, Sue, Baudelaire, Flaubert, the Goncourt brothers, Zola, Huysmans, Le Rouge, Cendrars are summoned to bear witness to the link between these two powers of death.