Wednesday, October 24, 2012

54. Wilhelm Meister Lehrjahre

Wilhelm Meister Lehrjahre
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe
1795
Around 600 pages












For the first time in my life, I haven't felt like reading lately.  I have no idea why.  I don't think this book deserves all the blame, but it certainly deserves some of it.

We really haven't gotten a lot of German literature but I absolutely loved Sorrows of a Young Werther, mostly because it was unapologetically depressing.  I can be weird like that.  But this book, written by the same author, began on a slightly nauseating note.  The main character, Wilhelm, is in love with an actress and so visits her after her performance so they can play with a bunch of puppets he brought.  Their love and her beauty was just described in such a sentimental way that it made me put the book down for over a week.  This probably has more to do with the fact that I am single and couples make me want to puke, but for now, I will blame it on the style.

The novel goes on to describe the lessons Wilhelm learns and his fascination with Shakespeare (whose plays got translated into German in this time period).  It just felt so cheesy.  I don't think this would bother me as much if I hadn't been expecting something better from Goethe.  Usually, around this time of year I am reading gory horror novels. Sigh.

You disappointed me Goethe.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Pronounced Yo-han von Volfgang Gerte.  I pronounced it incorrectly several times to different people, including an English professor.

One of the first bildungsroman books.  WHAT???  It means coming of age literature.




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

53. The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ann Radcliffe
1794
Around 700 pages












I am not sure why the "female imprisoned by tyrannical rapist while nobody does anything" is such a popular genre.  However, this is actually quite a good novel and hey, without it, we wouldn't have Northanger Abbey.

Emily St. Aubert becomes an orphan and is forced to live with her aunt and her scheming uncle.  Although Emily is in love with Valancourt, her uncle attempts to bully her to marrying a rich count.  Will she be able to find a man to save her and most importantly, will he be hot?

It's a little hard to take this novel, just like it was with Pamela and Clarissa.  Of course, I wish that Emily was strong, less melodramatic, and tougher.  But that doesn't stop this book from being damn entertaining, if a little too long.  At least, we finally get a female author!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Heavily referenced in Northanger Abbey.

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