Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Emily St Aubert and Valancourt
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (Click here for review.)
(Due to the nature and scope of the novel, I will skip the sections that don't have anything to do with Valancourt, very sorry.)
In 1584 in Gascony, Emily St. Aubert lives happily with her parents who taught her to control her passions and to eschew the "world" and enjoy the natural landscapes surrounding their castles. For a while Emily lives in pleasure, until the fateful moment when her father becomes. Her father gets better, but then her mother becomes sick and dies. To recover from tragedy, both Emily and her father decide to go on a trip.
While making a trip, Emily and her father become acquainted with Valancourt who also has similar views to Emily's father. St. Aubert also enjoys his company and the three make good companions. At one point, when they become separated, without their knowledge, Valancourt pursues their carriage, and not knowing it was him, St Aubert shoots him by accident.
Very soon he recovers and the two begin to fall in love through watching landscape scenes. As a parting gift, Valancourt gifts Emily poetry books, with his favorite scenes underlined.
Unfortunately during the trip, Emily's father passes away, and Emily becomes an orphan. Her guardian is her father's sister. Valancourt begins to visit Emily at her house, but the father's sister, the future Mrs. Montoni, at first forbids the marriage but then she encourages the lovers to see one another. She is being courted by Senor Montoni who holds the castle of Udolpho. He thinks her rich, and she him so they marry. Montoni forbids Emily to see Valancourt and soon they travel to Italy. Valancourt leaves for Paris.
Through various adventures and whatnot, including the death of her aunt and of Montoni, Emily returns to live with a family. During that time, Valancourt acquires a negative reputation and is desperate to be reunited with Emily.
Eventually he proves his trustworthiness to Emily, they marry and live happily ever after.
I really enjoyed reading the book, and I wanted to include some happily ever after Romeo and Juliet type stories, which is why I've chosen this novel. The novel is more complicated than it appears, and is a pleasure to read, although you'll need a Thesaurus/ Dictionary and lots of patience to wade through it.
Romeo and Juliet qualities:
Probably the separated lovers idea, then the fact that it tended to be love at first sight so to speak, and for a while their love was disapproved by other people and society. Also, like Romeo, Valancourt is not the type that will rescue his lady from multiple distresses.