Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Melmoth the Wanderer and Music

I have recently finished a most astonishing book by Charles Robert Maturin called Melmoth the Wanderer. I'll update on it some day, but I'm really very busy nowadays, what with my job and term is going to start soon. Argh!
Charles Robert Maturin

Basically it's about John Melmoth who sold his soul to the devil in the 17th century for 150 years of extra life and supernatural powers. It is said that strange music is heard when he approaches his victim. He spends his life trying to persuade others to sell their soul to release him from the contract. Otherwise he will die in hell.  As I happened to be listening to this piece while reading the book I'll share it here.

The beginning is scary, reminiscent of a burning building, ominous with the surrealism only Scriabin could put in - which is the feeling I felt on reading the novel. It does resolve into moments of sweetness and intense feeling, just like the parts of Moncada's sufferings in the Spanish Inquisition and Melmoth's tragic love for Immalee.

Whatever it is, I advise you, if you love Gothic novels with intense emotion, philosophical argument and cynicism do try this book. It is no easy read, being more complex than Ann Radcliffe and The Monk, but more satisfying. The character of Melmoth, though shadowy in most parts, is a work of consummate genius.

While on Youtube I happened to be forced to go through one of those stupid ads before the real video starts, and it was the Fifty Shades Classical Album. Yup, EL James has chosen some songs mentioned in the series to be compiled into an album. It's pretty good, though I groaned at the fact she has just insulted my favourite composer, Rachmaninov, by selecting his 2nd Piano Concerto (my favourite piece) in a stupid novel. Anyway one of the pieces chosen is Chopin's Nocturne 1. This one has especially stuck in my head. It could represent the temporary peace during the romancing of Immalee and Melmoth, yet with undercurrents of gloom. Melmoth becomes pensively gloom from fiercely misanthropic. And he is a real cynic. He battles within himself whether to get her to sell her soul or to leave her so he can't hurt her. Which kind of reminds me of Sparkly Vampire and that Mary Sue, only Melmoth is waaaaaaaay more complex and therefore fascinating in a horrible way.

Which reminds me, I'm behind with my review on Mansfield Park and the Brontës. Not to mention the Brontë fanfics I'm supposed to continue (and I am too tired to think up new ideas quickly.)

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