Saturday, September 12, 2009

DH is at the Abbey

DH writes:

Its been a weird kind of week. Over the weekend I started Sense and Sensibility on my EReader. It seems that the longer books go faster that way, plus its easier to keep your spot and not worry about forgetting the book. Tuesday I again started to travel to work daily, so in the morning I try to read the newspapers and on the way home I read JA. So now I am reading Northanger Abbey. I found it interesting and am seeing why Annie is reading The Mysteries of Udolpho. I think that I will now have to read it also. I am reading the book, it seems that the second hundred pages are more interesting.

Now I write:

OMG! DH wants to read Udolpho! What have I unleashed? Does he know what he's getting into? One thousand plus pages of scenery, gloomy castles, mysterious music, meandering sentences, and melodrama. Still, I'm enjoying it somehow. In Volume 3, a character worthy of Jane Austen makes her first appearance. She is the Countess de Villefort, the Count's very vain, self-centered second wife. She isn't quite as bad as Emily's aunt Mme Montoni, but she is definitely not good. Radcliffe describes the Countess as being liked more for her beauty than her wit. She prefers Paris to the wild countryside surrounding the isolated Chateau-Le-Blanc, which doesn't go over well with her husband as he has fond memories of this castle. (It's his place anyway; he inherited it from a relative.) Paris is the "big, bad city," the seat and symbol of corruption and vice. (Actually, when DH and I went, it was quite nice. But we're from NY.)

There is a scene I really like in this section, but I don't have the book handy to quote the text. The Count and his daughter, Blanche, are watching a huge storm one night; the sea is visible from the Chateau. All of a sudden, there is a crash of thunder, and lightening illuminates a sailing ship struggling to avoid the rocks along the coast. I can just picture that ship crashing through the rough waves, at night, illuminated in the stark light of the lightening.

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