Saturday, April 3, 2010

Udolpho, S'meep Update, Undeniable Signs

So, I am nearing the end of The Mysteries of Udolpho- I have about 6 audio chapters left, and by the time I finish those, it'll be time to start running outside again (I listen to the traffic when I run on the highway. Much safer that way). It's been an interesting, and often infuriating book. Poor Emily has a chance to rid herself of Valencort, who is not only manipulative, passive/aggressive, and deeply stalkerish, he's also massively stupid, but I suspect that she's not going to, and our young lovers will end up together in the end. On the other hand, Emily isn't the brightest bulb in the lamp either, so they're probably well suited.

SPOILER: It's interesting that Radcliffe spent chapters (and in my case- weeks and months) detailing every evil committed by Montanari, and yet, Emily escaped from him rather easily, and he didn't even chase after her. And then he's permanently dispatched off-screen in the space of a couple of paragraphs. Count Morano seems to have disappeared as well. And the string of coincidences must have strained even contemporary readers: Emily just happens to be shipwrecked near a castle where the housekeeper has a secret to tell her, Ludovicco, who disappeared mysteriously awhile earlier, just happens to have fallen in with robbers who just happen to be in a fort where Blanche (and why the hell are we spending so much time with Blanche and her family anyway?) and party stop by for shelter because there just happens to have been a nasty storm. From which they just happen to escape.

And then, there's the poetry... every chapter a poem of some kind (did people sit down and write them at every whim back then? about everything?)... and the scenery- there is no bit of action so intense that it can't be interrupted for a long, detailed description of the surrounding mountains and the "verdure". And the delicate women- my God!  They're like fainting goats, falling senseless at the slightest provocation.

And yet... and yet... I still want to know how it comes out. I want to hear the end of the story. Go figure.

On to much more delicious things: my young testers tried out the S'meeps today. We learned that breaking up the bunny and melting it a bit on the graham crackers before assembling and then nuking again, makes for a much less poofy treat. It's still extremely sticky though- better suited to eating with a spoon and fork, than the fingers.

And finally, these:

are tulips. Spring IS here.

1 comment:

Alan Beechey said...

Isn't that a peculiar book? If you're catching up on your genuine Gothic, did you ever read William Beckford's "Vathek"? Very odd, but highly entertaining. And I think that's true of both the book and the author.

(And sorry if this came up earlier and I missed it.)