Valperga

Valperga : or the Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca

3.39 (133 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Not reprinted since its first edition, Mary Shelley's second novel is a major discovery of the Mary Shelley bicentenary of 1997. The novel's lack of success as a follow-up to Frankenstein was the result of its subject matter and unconventional approach to the genre of historical fiction, attributes that can only delight the twentieth-century reader. Shelley's mastery of the intricate details of thirteenth-century Tuscan politics is unique among women of her time, and her resolute filtering of the bloody heroics of the age through the sensibilities of two women who are destroyed by them reveals the feminist perspective missing so conspicuously from her first novel. The lastest addition to the acclaimed Women Writers in English series, this glittering novel from Romanticism's premier woman storyteller belongs on the shelves of all serious readers of English fiction.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 215.9 x 215.9 x 139.7mm | 696.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195108817
  • 9780195108811

Back cover copy

Valperga, published in 1823 and reprinted here for the first time, was Mary Shelley's second novel, the successor to Frankenstein. Set in fourteenth-century Tuscany, the novel shares certain structural features with the popular fictions of Sir Walter Scott, most notably the novel Ivanhoe with its contrasting heroines, but Mary Shelley's work pointedly challenges Scott's model, inverting his masculinist and conservative outlook, foregrounding the lives of its principal women, Euthanasia dei Adimari and Beatrice of Ferrara, and attaching to the figure of Castruccio Castracani, Prince of Lucca, a retrograde authoritarianism and sterile lust for power. Valperga, steeped in Mary Shelley's command of local Italian history and culture, offers the vivid pleasures of accomplished historical fiction, while at the same time representing in the clash between Castruccio and Euthanasia a struggle between autocracy and liberal democracy that speaks directly to the contemporary political tensions of post-Napoleonic Europe. Timed for Mary Shelley's bicentennial and superbly introduced by Stuart Curran, this exciting new edition makes available a bold yet little-known work by one of the finest minds in English letters.show more

Rating details

133 ratings
3.39 out of 5 stars
5 16% (21)
4 34% (45)
3 32% (43)
2 11% (14)
1 8% (10)
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