Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Vanina Vanini" by Stendhal ( 1829 - A Short Story Translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff)

Stendhal (1783 to 1842, France) is the author of two of the greatest novels of all time, The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma.  Recently I happily discovered that C. K. Scoff Moncreiff has translated these works as well as a number of lesser known works by Stendhal.

( I was able to download all of Moncrieff's Stendhal translations from E Books Adelaide ( )

Roberto Rosselini made a movie based on "Vanina Vanini" in 1961.  The prose styling of the stories, as any reader of Moncrieff's Proust would expect, is exquisite.  The plot is standard action packed high romantic melodrama set in Rome in the 1820s.  Vanina Vanini is the beautiful nineteen year old daughter of a very wealthy Roman.  She is well into marriage ready years but she rejects all elgible suitors.  There is a very good scene at an elegant ball.  Stendhal does not give the richness of detail of Balzac but we can sense the great beauty of life for the Roman rich. You can tell Stendal liked describing Italian women.  Italy is ruled by outsiders and there is much patriotic infighting. At the ball everyone is talking about a young noble man who had just escaped from prison.  He was put there for seeking freedom for Italy.  Compressing, the girl finds a secret room in her father's mansion.  She learns her father is hiding the badly injured young man from the authorities. As comes as no surprise, he is very handsome and soon the young people are madly in love. The plot gets very melodramatic with several deaths and a dramatic close.

This is a melodramatic love at first sight among the rich story.   It can be read in about thirty minutes.  It is worth adding to your erudition.  The writing is beautiful, OK the plot is your standard romance of the period but stories don't come with a better pedigree than "Vanina Vanini".

Mel u

1 comment:

Suko said...

Mel, Vanina Vanini sounds intriguing! I think I'd enjoy the beautiful writing. Thanks for a lovely intro to this short story.