The Moonstone

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

This story was a quintessential English gothic novel. A valuable jewel, a Hindu curse, opium addicts, beautiful (and innocent?) rich heiresses, unrequited love, bohemian young men travelling to the Continent in between adventures, dramatic suicide, elaborate dinner parties... I wouldn't necessarily call this "literature", but this was a fun read. I like stories like this--they keep me guessing, but without the gore and licentiousness of modern detective novels.

The introduction to the work proposed that there were three major themes to the book: imperialism, sensationalism, and mesmerism. They were certainly there, but the author was either ambivalent or deliberately ambiguous about his opinions regarding the subjects. Incidentally, it seems that he would have been a great character in his own novels: he was Charles Dickens's protege, openly kept a mistress, was a notorious opium addict, but nevertheless was intellectually curious and enjoyed conducted 'experiments' at home.

When I read English novels, I find I tend to lose my voice and write in a style from the 1800's. I had to practically start over today when I was writing an email to my brother. So, to get it out of my system:

I beg your pardon, gentle reader, for a hasty review of a story which deserves more than my artless commendation, and a recipient who, for noticing my humble weblog, is owed more than my meager entry. However, I must end here. The hour is late, and our programmable thermostat has decreased the heated comfort of our home to the point where it drives me away from the computer, and into the warm bed where my good husband awaits. Good night.


Nathan Garrett said...

Forsooth... Such writing, seems to me, to be such an excess of rich words as to overwhelm the modern reader. What shall the common man do when confronted with such a magnitude of riches? Alas, I shall leave behind my wife's Austen novels and retreat back to academic prose, where thoughts are hidden in words, keeping the reader safe from uneeded strife and woe.

Rachel said...

Hurrah, good sir. Well said!