Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Virgin of the Seven Daggers-Vernon Lee

Virgin of the Seven Daggers and other stories-Vernon Lee

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 230
gender: F
nationality: UK
year: 1962
Short Story Collection

Classic Gothic horror. Contains: Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady, A Wedding Chest, Amour Dure, A Wicked Voice, Legend of Madame Krasinska, and The Virgin of the Seven Daggers.

I picked this up from the library shelf because of that cover art. And also, because it promised horror and I had just been disappointed with Miss Peregrine's. A classic Gothic horror should do the trick I thought and when I realized that Vernon Lee is a penname for Violet Paget, even better.

These are supernatural horror stories full of things that cause obsessions. Those obsessions caused sticky ends not unwelcome to the possessors. A portrait of a beautiful woman captures a historian, a tapestry prepares a young prince for his future, a woman whose death causes retribution, a dead soprano who tortures a 'modern' conductor who dares disparage his voice, a madwoman who possesses a young woman who dresses as her in jest, and of course, the titular Don Juan who makes a compact with the Virgin of the 7 Daggers before dabbling in necromancy.

The supernatural, magic and the unknowable provide hooks into the past. There are strong threads of historicity in that most involve past horrors that reach into the future. All but one of the stories are set in Italy making Venice into a set piece of a woman whose beauty is unreal, and Florence into the scene of a feud etc. They are very very good with Prince Alberic and Amour Dure sticking in my memory weeks after I finished the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment