26/03/2010

RA FRIDAY- OF RICHARD, LIBERTINES AND ESCAPISM

I've been definitely seduced by two libertines. Two, not one. And , more or less, at the same time. They are expert in the art of seduction so I think I must be forgiven. These two are... tall , dark and handsome and these are already features I  can hardly  resist. Then they've got piercing blue eyes  and a deep velvety caressing voice ... who could have resisted their subtle tricks?
I couldn't. So I surrendered to  the two of them.... yes, even to the devilish one. Well, yes, I forgot to say that one is more like Casanova knowing his "victims" weaknesses and likings and trying to win them on those.The other one is more a wicked Don Juan , achieving victory over innocent naive victims. The more naive and resisting they are the more he wants to have them. But he , even in his devilish nature has got his charm. 
Here I am again. The usual silly ramblings when starting an RA Friday post. But any time  Richard is involved , my self - control is hardly proved.
Maybe you have already understood I 'm talking  about Damerel, the hero in Georgette Heyer's Venetia and Robert Lovelace the rascal male protagonist in Richardson's Clarissa. I've just finished reading /listening Venetia last night. And I loved episode two of BBC4 radio drama Clarissa so much that I re- listened to it several times. Richard and all the cast gave amazing performances. Have you listened to Richard singing? What a stunning baritone voice! Is there anything this talented actor cannot do well? Nothing so far.

Georgette Heyer's VENETIA - A short review


An inescapable wish for escapism has characterized this latest period of my life. A recurrent attempt to find a virtual place to forget my stressful  days. I've turned to delightful , amusing readings /listenings and I’m so glad I did! I read Heyer’s Venetia and listened to an abridged audiobook just released by Naxos narrated by a brilliant Richard Armitage.
Georgette Heyer with her Regency romances full of witty comedy can be a perfect remedy to stress and distress. And an intelligent one. Her fascinating characters, her humorous portrayals, her witty style, her passionate romances can make your night even after an awful day!
Venetia is an enchanting young lady, bold, independent, well-read and learned and extremely beautiful who manages to catch and tame a notorious libertine, handsome “wicked baron” Damerel.
He’s a libertine with an infamous reputation but his love for Venetia gives him a new outlook on life. He’s ready to sacrifice his love for Venetia’s happiness and social welfare.
Literary quotations in their verbal interactions are what I liked the most. Since their first (un)fortunate meeting at the Priory Lord Damerel and Miss Venetia Lanyon use a very informal, intelligent, spicy exchange of speech based on literature: Shakespeare, Thomas Campion, Ben Jonson.
Their ability at communicating in this way indicates the affinity and understanding between them.
My favourite moments in the novel are the Venetia /Damerel ones. Especially the first meeting at the Priory, the scene of the barn, the proposal, Damerel explaining what was wrong in young Oswald's attempt to kiss Venetia.  Well, what can I do? I know. I’m an incurable  romantic.

Libertinism

Both Lord Jasper Damerel in Venetia and Robert Lovelace in Richardson’s Clarissa are libertines.
But who exactly is a Libertine? The term is usually considered a synonym of rascal or rake. And that is correct. But a libertine was both a real fashionable gentleman and literary type, a figure who embodied the desire to react and contrast the Puritan period (1647-1660) with an extreme desire for freedom (liberty).
In fact, the rise of Libertininsm dates back to the period of the Restoration of the Monarchy by Charles II Stuart (1660).The phylosophy of the Libertines went beyond simply living a life of pleasure. Libertinism was in many ways a disruptive social force. The aim of the Libertines was to experiment with the limits of individual freedom; to do the unthinkable and say the unspeakable; to reject the moral framework of the social order that supported their privileges. Defiantly irreligious and aceptical about the claims of rationalism, the Libertines wanted to see how far they could go in disrupting the norms that governed the rest of society. Pastimes included casual adultery and seduction, gambling and fighting duels.
Libertine ideas not only form an important part of literature and drama in the Restoration, but they also provide a cultural framework for the subsequent rise of the novel.
Libertines were both male and female. They did as they felt but, in literature, they are too clever to be punished for their sins.
This is not the case of Richardon’s Lovelace, though. He ruins the model puritan heroine, Clarissa, and he can’t escape his fate in the end. He even seeks his own death as an act of atonement. He is also a tragic hero, not only the villain in the novel, and this is totally different from libertines in the Restoration comedy and literature.

See you next Sunday, then.
 3 p.m Greenwich time, on line to follow CLARISSA episode 3 on BB4.
(thank you Annette !)

6 comments:

phylly3 said...

Oh, I am so glad that you like Georgette Heyer's books! They really are treasures! I used to read her books quite a bit as a young person, and then I guess I ran out of them and moved on, but it was great to revisit Venetia at Christmas time. And of course, I can't wait to get the audio book!! (And I've never wanted an audiobook before!) My, what this obsession brings us to do! LOL

missbluestocking said...

VERY interesting!....ugh. I hate Lovelace. He gives me the creepers.

But yes, back to the point, VERY interesting post! I've always been fascinated with libertinism. Libertines are ones you cannot escape especially in biographies about aristocrats in Georgian/Regency era. They flourish in a society that takes gambling and drinking and womanizing to an excess. Fascinating society, really.... And then they have the audacity to judge others and shun them.

Jac said...

Great post, MG! Love it! Really wish I could get my hands on RA's works.

mrskarenblixen said...

What an interesting in-depht examination on the subject of libertines, MG. It's amazing how many things I can learn thanks to my RA obsession! :)
See you later my dear friend,
xx KB

ElleJay said...

To actually see a Libertine in action watch both Johnny Depp as The Libertine in the film of the same name. It is based in the original period of 1660's and is based on actual person who could be deemed as the first libertine. Follow this up with Sean Bean in the TV costume drama of Clarissa, like Richard Armitage he allows you to sympathise with Lovelace, as well at the same time loathing him. I am a little biased when it comes to both Sean and Richard as I think they are both wonderful actors and both have great voices for talking books etc. I currently listening to Sylvester: The Wicked Uncle another Georgette Heyer.
Enjoy my recommendations and I look forward to your next RA post.

Annette said...

Maria, Clarissa is at 2pm Greenwich Mean Time (not 4pm). By tomorrow we'll be on British Summer Time, which is an hour ahead of GMT, so for us, Clarissa is at 3pm BST, which is 2pm GMT.

Very interesting comments about Libertinism, thanks!