If you're in the NYC area on 15 December, come listen to our choir and chamber ensemble perform a program of French Christmas Carols and Saint-Saens' Christmas Oratorio. 12/15 7:30pm Church of the Resurrection, 74th St. between Park and Lexington. The music will be nothing like this cheesy image.
Somehow, I know not why, I made it through a BA in English and an MA in Literature without ever reading a gothic novel. Not even Frankenstein. The closest I'd come was Austen's Northanger Abbey, a satirical poke at the gothic novel's histrionics and flat characters -- and being a fan of Jane, I decided if she didn't think much of the gothic then it wasn't worth much of my time.
I'm less of a snob now, so in October I decided it was time to address this void in my knowledge of literary history and open up to this deliciously seething, maleficent darkness of a genre. The Monk and The Mysteries of Udolpho were the titles I'd been familiar with, but it was The Italian that I found at B&N so I bit. I've not been disappointed.
Histrionic -- a tad -- and flat characters, well...maybe if I were familiar with other gothic novels I would see them only as types. The male protagonist, Vivaldi, is -- I must admit -- about as interesting as a wet cracker, but his love interest, Ellena, is much more complex than I'd expected of a swooning, fainting gothic heroine. Vivaldi's mother, whom I expected to be as defined in her evil as any Disney character is somewhat grey morally, and though you can anticipate her actions you also see that she isn't wicked to the core. She hesitates. The maleficent monk, Schedoni, is a bit less-rounded, more like Vivaldi in that regard, but he can get away with it because he's the bad guy. And we like the bad guys, don't we? It's a strange human thing.
Anyway, I'm not finished with the book, I've got about 100 pages to go (I never have the time to read as much as I would like...), but it's highly enjoyable -- I'm pleased with my decision. And -- forgive me, Jane -- I don't know what Austen was smokin'.
a baby blanket for my soon-to-be-born niece! It's the pattern from Stitch & Bitch: seed stitch border with four checked squares in stockinette.
No Nail-Biting Day Counter
20 November 2007 -- Day 2
This is how they looked on day one: