This blog goes on under a different name and new web address from January 2011. Please follow me...

Beyond the Lone Islands

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Out of the Labyrinth of Perplexities (Udolpho V)

On page 648 out of 672 in The Mysteries of Udolpho,

"Emily was still lost in a labyrinth of perplexities"

– and so is the reader; even if some connections are by then slowly beginning to dawn upon us.

The whole book finished, just 24 pages later, I have to humbly revise my earlier impression that the author didn't quite know herself where she was going with the story. The slow beginning is deceptive; it really contains several details that turn out to be quite important later on. All the twists and turns and dead ends along the way - represented by the dark corridors and dusty chambers of the castles, as well as all the travelling abroad - are also an illustration of the winding path of the story itself, leading us round and back and forth like a labyrinth, luring us to false conclusions; sometimes false hope, and sometimes despair of ever getting out and reaching an explanation of the mysteries.

As you could see in my previous Udolpho post (The Mysterious Herione), 115 pages from the end, I still didn't feel at all sure what would prove to be important or not when we came to the conclusion of the story. I only mentioned one, but Emily really brought two major unsolved mysteries with her (in her mind) from Udolpho. Both of these were explained before the end; but one turned out to be of greater importance than the other.

Moral: Sometimes, the things we do not see can haunt us just as much as those we believe we have seen. Come to think of it, this applies to relationships as well: what we don't know can prove as important as that which we think we know…

All in all, I don't regret the journey!

PS. One complaint from my second Udolpho post still stands, although it may seem rather pettish: I still think it was a mistake by the author to suddenly introduce Emily's father's dog, "the faithful Manchon", into one single event at the Castle of Udolopho – the dog never mentioned before that, and never again afterwards! ;-)

Links to previous Udolpho posts:
Reading The Mysteries of Udolpho
The Castle, At Last! (Mysteries of Udolpho II)
Multiple Choice (Mysteries of Udolpho III)
The Mysterious Heroine (Udolpho IV)

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin