Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gothic Literature Anyone?

Because of my obsession with Jane Austens novels (and the film adaptations) I decided I would get into some of the Gothic Literature that gets mentioned in Northanger Abbey.  An undertaking of mine has been to read The Monk and atleast something about Anne Radcliffe and her novels which are said to be truly terrifying!

I'm currently just past the first volume of The Monk and so far it's quite intriguing and I find myself unable to put it down before finishing the chapter i'm on..  

The story takes place in Spain and upon entering the first few chapters we are graced by the presence of the great Monk Ambrosio who has become somewhat of a renown preacher and is known to the people of Madrid as His Holiness as they worship him for his words with reverence.  Alas poor Ambrosio(- I knew him well) while having survive 30 years of life unsullied by sin or temptation finds himself only too close to succumbing to the powers of evil in the temptations of Rosario (A.K.A) Matilda...

Among hearing about the antics and goings on about the Monastery we also encounter 3 gentlemen and their lives/journeys into the world and society and their abilities in persuing certain favoured women...  The author really did a great job of flipping back and forth between scenes within and out of the Monastery and adding many side stories in depth to help the reader fully understand how a certain character came to be where he/she is now in the point of the story..each character has a chance to be the narrator for a chapter or so..  

Things haven't gotten to the "scary" part quite yet beyond the two poisonings that occur within the Monastery and the pillaging and murdering that happens out in society as we are following various gentlemen around..  For being written at the and of the 1700's it's quite a shock to find scenes and stories within the novel that involve rather PG and "racy" areas... one does not expect to find any mention of exposed body parts and their appearance in the light of the moon (etc) within 18th century literature and i'm sure it was frowned upon society at the time- though that might have all added to the books "terrific" nature... hmm.. 

Either way, I can only imagine these topics were able to pass under the radar because the story was considered "horrific" in its nature altogether anyway.. honestly who pays attention to the exposed breast of a maiden when there are gangs a-foot and murdering's a-happening..right?

I shall let you know what I feel as I move into the Volume II.. perhaps I shall come to the forbidden "scary" parts... 

By the way.. I realized that something is a-miss in Austen's Northanger Abbey and in it's film adaptations..  Catherine Morland is reading The Monk and fantasizing herself into the story as per usual and the scene she narrates is when Ambrosio gains the ability to go into Antonia's bedchamber and Catherine says the line of "I must have her or perish" or something of that sort.. well in the novel proper (The Monk) it is soo not Ambrosio who says it but rather Matilda/Rosario who says it of Ambrosio and her desire to be with him.. or so i've found so far.. perhaps the line gets repeated in another part of the book... or Austen just liked that line from the Monk and decided to have her "heroine" Catherine read it, and the same goes for the film adaptors.. cuz we all know Henry Tilney would so not be crass enough to walk into Catherine as she is bathing and tell her that all God's creatures are acceptable in the flesh.. yeah.. wouldn't happen, even in Cathy's fantasies.. sorry C, your not Antonia, and your beloved Mr. Tilney is just not Ambrosio enough..  I could very well be wrong in all this, please accept it as purely speculation drwan off of bad tired short term memory...
Okay, im done ranting and rambling..

As always, Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and/or e-mail me what your thinking


No comments: