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?
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.
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 !)
(thank you Annette !)