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Book Title: The Heir of Mondolfo|
The author of the book: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
The size of the: 24.16 MB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: January 1st 2006
ISBN 13: 9781425024185
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 7.8
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The Heir of Mondolfo is a short story that was written by Mary Shelley and published in 1877, more than 25 years after her death. It was first published in Appleton's Journal and was called an excellent example of Gothic Fiction. I would have to agree, I enjoyed the story and it did seem to have almost all of those "Gothic" elements. It takes place in the Italian countryside; gothic and Italy just seem to go together, there is an innocent, suffering heroine, an evil Prince, a forbidden romance, and of course, a castle. There's always a castle in a Gothic story.
The story begins by contrasting the beautiful Italian setting with the dark, evil behavior of Prince Mondolfo.
" Under the sun no spot could be found more favored by nature.
If at eventide you had passed on the placid wave beneath the castellated rock that bore the name of Mondolfo, you would have imagined that all happiness and bliss must reside within its walls, which, thus nestled in beauty, overlooked a scene of such surpassing loveliness; yet if by chance you saw its lord issue from the portal, you shrunk from his frowning brow, you wondered what could impress on his worn cheek the combat of passions.
The story tells us that the Prince had been married early in life to a Princess who had given birth to a son and then died. Years later he remarries again, this time his wife isn't from a regal family and he marries for love. She also gives birth to a son, Ludovico. At first the Prince loves his wife, then he hates her because she is a "hindrance" to his ambitious views, and when he decides to hate someone he really hates them. He constantly abuses his wife who is" the slave of his unbridled temper, the patient sufferer of many wrongs"but she puts up with it all for the sake of her son.
As Ludovico grows up he watches the treatment his mother received from his father. He dared come forward as her defender; he dared oppose his father's rage with his young courage and the result was he became the object of his father's dislike. His father comes to hate him and teach those around to hate him also, the servants treat him with scorn, his brother despises him because of his inferior blood. When he is 13 his mother finally dies, but not before making Ludovico swear not to leave the "protection" of his father before he is 20 years old. She is more afraid of what could happen to him out in the world than what could happen to him living with this horrible man.
Now Ludovico is left with a father and brother who hate him, his father's hatred grows as the years pass, and Ludovico lives at the castle "hated and hating". I expect a tragic ending. I expect Ludovico to finally rise up and kill his father and his brother and then grow old alone in this castle the same type of person his father was. Ludovico reaches his 18th year, he is hardened, haughty, reserved, fierce and filled with contempt.
Then one day while out hunting he comes upon a desolate house and inside meets a young girl kneeling at the side of a dying old woman. The girl"might have been mistaken for the angel of heaven waiting to receive and guide the departing soul to eternal rest, but for the sharp agony that was stamped on the features, and the glazed but earnest gaze of her eye. She was very young, and beautiful as the star of evening.
Now, what happens next, what happens when she sees him, or when he realizes who she is, or when his father finds out, or how this story ends, you are just going to have to find out for yourself.
Oh, and one more thing that is usually present in "gothic fiction"; a ghost or at least something supernatural, you'll just have to read it and see for yourself. It was worth reading. Sure it could have been better, but what book couldn't? Well other than Dickens maybe. :-}
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Read information about the authorMary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, often known as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, travel writer, and editor of the works of her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. She was the daughter of the political philosopher William Godwin and the writer, philosopher, and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
Mary Shelley was taken seriously as a writer in her own lifetime, though reviewers often missed the political edge to her novels. After her death, however, she was chiefly remembered only as the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and as the author of Frankenstein. It was not until 1989, when Emily Sunstein published her prizewinning biography Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, that a full-length scholarly biography analyzing all of Shelley's letters, journals, and works within their historical context was published.
The well-meaning attempts of Mary Shelley's son and daughter-in-law to "Victorianise" her memory through the censoring of letters and biographical material contributed to a perception of Mary Shelley as a more conventional, less reformist figure than her works suggest. Her own timid omissions from Percy Shelley's works and her quiet avoidance of public controversy in the later years of her life added to this impression.
The eclipse of Mary Shelley's reputation as a novelist and biographer meant that, until the last thirty years, most of her works remained out of print, obstructing a larger view of her achievement. She was seen as a one-novel author, if that. In recent decades, however, the republication of almost all her writings has stimulated a new recognition of its value. Her voracious reading habits and intensive study, revealed in her journals and letters and reflected in her works, is now better appreciated. Shelley's recognition of herself as an author has also been recognized; after Percy's death, she wrote about her authorial ambitions: "I think that I can maintain myself, and there is something inspiriting in the idea". Scholars now consider Mary Shelley to be a major Romantic figure, significant for her literary achievement and her political voice as a woman and a liberal.
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