Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's a mystery...

...exactly why I like The Mysteries of Udolpho. In general, I don't care for novels written before the nineteenth century, except for La Princess de Cleves. The characters seem more like types than like real people, and the language sometimes puts me off. Late the other night, I found my old college copy of Otranto/Udolpho/Northanger Abbey. Udolpho was so drastically abridged that it's no wonder I didn't like it. The plot probably didn't make much sense to me, since only about a dozen chapters were included out of how many? The novel is over 1,000 pages and has 4 volumes of I forget how many chapters each. That's a lot of story to leave out! The first six chapters have been meandering through the countryside, where St. Aubert, his daughter Emily, and their young friend Valancourt stop to admire the mountains and trees and crags and sweeping scenery. How characters react to the scenery is one way to tell the good guys from the bad. The good guys love trees. The bad guys want to cut them down. So far, except for St. Aubert sighing over the miniature of a woman Emily doesn't recognize, and mysterious music heard in the woods surrounding a castle St. Aubert and Emily have been warned not to approach, there hasn't been much mystery or horror. The story is taking it's time to unfold, and I think that's what I'm enjoying. A leisurely walk through the woods.

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