Nous avons à raconter un épisode, historique il est vrai, mais bourgeois, et qui n'a aucun trait ni à l'intrigue du cabinet ni aux victoires et conquêtes. C'est tout bonnement une page de la biographie secrète de ce géant qu'on nomme Paris et qui, en sa vie, eut tant d'aventures ! Laissons donc de côté les cinq cents volumes de mémoires diffus qui disent le blanc et le noiNous avons à raconter un épisode, historique il est vrai, mais bourgeois, et qui n'a aucun trait ni à l'intrigue du cabinet ni aux victoires et conquêtes. C'est tout bonnement une page de la biographie secrète de ce géant qu'on nomme Paris et qui, en sa vie, eut tant d'aventures ! Laissons donc de côté les cinq cents volumes de mémoires diffus qui disent le blanc et le noir sur cette grande crise de notre Révolution, et tournant le dos au château où la main crochue de ce bon M. Bourrienne griffonne quelques vérités parmi des monceaux de mensonges bien payés, plongeons-nous de parti pris dans le fourré le plus profond de la forêt parisienne....
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||300 Pages|
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La Vampire Reviews
Deduct two stars from my rating if you do not consider the schlocky vampire novel to be a serious literary form. In his day Paul Feval was a wildly popular writer of serialized Swashbuckler novels. During the 1850s he briefly departed this dubious genre to try his hand at Vampire novels. As Bram Stoker's Dracula would not appear for another 40 years, Feval's book was the first attempt at a modern "Vampire" novel. Many of his innovations are still with us.The great strength of the novel is the protagonist Vampire, the beautiful and bewitching Countess Marcian Gregoryi, a Central European ghoul who speaks Latin with a strong Hungarian accent. She is dazzling, witty, and a proliferate seductress who will ultimately be undone because she wants love more than eternal life. She will be slain by Rene de Kervoz, a handsome young nobleman from Brittany, who is filled with remorse for having slept with the Countess once he learns that his fiance was one of the Countess' victims.The big problem with the book is that the great writer of Swashbucklers is uncharacteristically inept in "La Vampire". The plot takes too long to develop and is utterly devoid of suspense. The Countess is a wonderful character but her victims and pursuers are remarkably insipid. The reading experience is saved only by the fact that the divine Countess occupies a much greater position in the second half of the novel than the first.Another problem with "La Vampire" for the North American reader is that a large part of the novel is devoted to a satire of French political life under the Second Empire just after Napoleon III has proclaimed himself Emperor. Feval prudently sets his novel in the first decade of the 1800's just before Napoleon I declares himself emperor. He creates a conspiratorial group called the Freres de la Vertu that plans to assassinate Napoleon. The members of the Freres de la Vertu fall into two camps. One is composed of true progressives who think that Napoleon has betrayed the revolution. The second is composed of monarchists who wish to restore the Bourbon dynasty. Feval is obviously poking fun at the Second Empire where Napoleon III governed from the middle with his opposition coming from the radical left and the monarchist right. I did not find this political commentary to have been particularly well done and I am sure that most English speaking North Americans will simply find it to be too obscure. If you like Vampire novels and believe that you can increase your understanding of the genre by studying the seminal works then you should read this charming work from the 1850s. Ideally you will be able to find a free copy on the Internet as I did.
True horror fiction from the Romantic period, interlaced with comedy. Féval does not dwell on gruesome details, but rather on psychology, and the chilling story of those trampled by the forces of evil.Although there are many comic elements, the tale is essentially a tragedy, and bad things happen to good people. Like Joss Whedon, Féval is unafraid of causing characters you care about to experience pointless suffering and death. You have been warned.Although Féval reveals his familiarity with the 'classic' blood-drinking vampire in an early chapter, this 'vampire' is not of that ilk. There are similarities: the theme of 'death in life and life in death' for example. This 'vampire' clearly subsists by devouring the life force of others. The tone of seduction that lurks in the background of Stoker's Dracula (which 'La Vamire' predates by three decades) is front and center in Féval's novel.One finds many of the typical characteristics of fiction from this period: for example fascination with the psychedelic experience, and the dream state, where the narrator is for example uncertain whether the experience is real or only a dream. Another trait that foreshadows the theatre of the 'Grand Guignol' is the interlacing of comic and horrific elements. We see hopeful crowds lured by the myth of a miraculous fish containing a giant diamond ring, all with their fishing lines in the Seine. We meet a useless bureaucrat who is pedantic and pompous in a way that only a French bureaucrat can be. Also, this story is entangled with the history of the conflict between Royalists (supporters of the monarch) and Republicans (supporters of Napoleon), and clearly the author is on the side of the Republicans, as was Dumas, for example. I found it useful to look up George Cadoudal, who plays a significant rôle as one the conspirators who attempted to assassinate Napoleon. This is the second novel I've completed reading/listening in French. The vocabulary is similar to the first (Dame aux Camélias) and Féval even mentions 'la Dame' in one of the chapters. However, Féval's eloquent variation is such that I found many more unfamiliar words in this book, which is about the same length. For example, in one section he found three entirely different sets of phrases to describe a 'pile of rubble.' Numerically (according to my dictionary app's flashcard collections), I had to look up 336 words in 'Dame,' compared with 458 in 'Vampire.' An odd window on a work of fiction, but there it is.
I need diversions from real life....this 1855 French vampire novel should do it. Feval wrote about seventy novels. Mostly outrageous pulpy stuff about diabolical criminal masterminds.
J'ai acheté le livre dans un salon littéraire, directement à la maison d'édition. On me l'a vendu comme "le vrai, le premier livre sur les vampires, écrit en 1865, 30 ans avant le livre de Bram Stroker". On oublie parfois que le fait d'être le premier ne garantit pas le talent, et ici c'est le cas. La vampire est un livre moyen qui a mal vieilli. Dracula de Bram Stroker est un classic que continue à plaire à toutes les nouvelles générations.
The goriest details of the story are mostly left to the imagination. The story then it's as terrifying as the imagination of the reader with some subtle clues from the author to guide it. I think the "methodology" used by the vampire to steal the force of life from her victims is one of the most original ideas about vampires that I have ever read. The vampire is this incredibly beautiful young woman that brings darkness wherever she goes. All the shadows she casts are unnoticed at first and her appearance seems to dazzle everyone around her in such a way, that she is free to commit monstrous acts without being caught on time.As interesting as the story is, I think there is an underlying misogynistic message because all the traits that make the vampire beautiful are used to highlight how she is a monster that needs to be stopped. Her freedom, her cleverness, her beauty, and her femininity scare the male protagonists.
In vita mors, in morte vita (in death, life; in life, death) is the motto of the beautiful Countess Addhema, the vampire countess.If you are interested in early vampire literature, then this book is a must. It is not your Dracula type of vampire. There is also a sub plot about an assassination attempt on Napoleon. There is supernatural and horror throughout the novel and to me, an almost Dumas flavor of storytelling. I am glad I have read this novel, I discovered a new vampire novel and author. I would like to thank The Gothic Wanderer blog for bringing this novel to me attention.