- Tapa blanda: 404 páginas
- Editor: Valancourt Books (27 de septiembre de 2007)
- Colección: Valancourt Classics
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1934555053
- ISBN-13: 978-1934555057
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Glenarvon (Valancourt Classics) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 27 sep 2007
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"I read 'Glenarvon,' too, by Caro. Lamb....God damn!" - Lord Byron
In 1812, Lady Caroline Lamb, wife of a prominent politician and future Prime Minister, began a tempestuous affair with Lord Byron, a liaison that shocked Lamb's contemporaries. Finally, when he became tired of Lamb, Byron cruelly broke off the relationship, and in Glenarvon (1816) Lamb sought revenge.
Set against the backdrop of the violent Irish Revolution of 1798, Glenarvon tells the story of the doomed love of the married Lady Calantha for the dashing revolutionary Lord Glenarvon. Though published anonymously, contemporary readers immediately recognised in Calantha and Glenarvon the counterparts of Lamb and Byron and in many of the minor characters satiric portraits of some of the leading lights of London high society. The novel became an instant success, going through numerous editions and resulting in Lamb's being blackballed from fashionable society.
The Valancourt Books edition includes the unabridged text of the first edition as well as Lamb's preface from the expurgated second edition. This edition also features a new introduction and notes by Deborah Lutz and an index to characters in Glenarvon and their real-life counterparts.
Published anonymously in 1816, the same year in which her husband's family attempted to have her declared insane, Glenarvon tells the story of the love affair that shook London Society. Few of the early eager readers could fail to recognize the author as the irresponsible Calantha, William Lamb as her long-suffering husband, Lord Avondale, or the legendary Lord Byron himself as the strangely and tragically irresistible Glenarvon.
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The Kindle Store combines reviews from two different editions from two different publishers, and none specifies which is being praised or criticized; it makes a difference. Valancourt is offering the text of that original FIRST edition, whereas Di Lernia's version (not revealed in the Kindle Store blurb but in the book itself) is a THIRD edition. Choose Valancourt's if you want to read the shocking original. My 3-star rating is for the first edition only, and not for its literary qualities but for its literary-historical significance relative to the Lamb-Byron scandal; subsequent editions would rate one star lower.
Did I say her relationship? Well not quite. This is a highly Gothic rendition of their relationship. There was no attempt to present it as anything but fiction - but those in know tried to pick out the facts from the overlay of fictional story-telling. For instance a letter she used verbatim in here is said to have been written to her by Byron.
This edition has a marvellous introduction which puts the novel in context with the times and Lamb's life and helps us as readers understand the links between real life and fiction. But this is an uneasy novel, poorly paced, with a tendency to maudlin pathos and overwrought chest-beating. It is interspersed with sections of intentional humour - Lamb clearly had great talent - but much of it was for the over-dramatic. Its a pity she wasn't taken in hand by her editor then as there are the makings of a very good novel in amongst the pages of dross. Overall the the novel is very Gothic and really only of interest to those who have an interest in Byron or Lamb herself. Byron, is of course Glenarvon the anti-hero of the novel and Lady Caroline the poor victimised Calantha.
In short the novel is all about poor old Calantha who marries one man, but is seduced by another (Glenarvon) who also masquerades under another evil persona. Their are ruined castles galore, quivering breasts, breathless terror - and the Irish rebellion of the late 1790's makes a bit of showing as well.
Lamb wrote two more novels after this neither of which have been reprinted - they were both, it seems overwritten as well, but without the added advantage of dozens of personality portraits of real people to ensure the successful marketing of the book. . Glenarvon was written, Lamb claims, as an apology to Byron, but marked the end of her acceptability amongst the elite of London society. She had overstepped the limit of social acceptibility once too often.
One of the oddest things about all this is that although we know Lamb as the lover of Byron, the affair was of the briefest - hardly lasting more than four months in the summer of 1812. She became completely obsessed with him after that and he had no peace from her. He eventually left London just before this book was published and died overseas fighting for the Greek cause in 1824. Lamb died 4 years later in 1828. I wonder if we should have known much of her at all were it not for those brief three months?