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- Reappearing Characters in Nineteenth-Century French Literature
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Arminta Wallace, Irish Times, 28 April Chapter after chapter, set-piece after set-piece, Redemption Falls captures the eye and provokes the imagination… Redemption Falls is Gone with the Wind rewritten by a Dublin-born apprentice to Charles Dickens…He does America in different voices to superb effect….
Brian Lynch, Irish Independent, 28 April A master storyteller…. An enthralling sequel to Star of the Sea Multi-layered, with the story told by several voices and including letters, ballads, poetry and even Wanted posters, that all form a vivid mosaic of a vast country driven wild by War. John Spain, Irish Independent, 28 April A grand polyphonous canvas that recalls the form of Star of the Sea , yet it is resolutely different in tone and subject matter…There are moments of sustained brilliance which in psychological truth and realism make Daniel Defoe look like a literary amateur…He perfected his craft with Star of the Sea but has taken it a step further with Redemption Falls …A satisfying work of real magnitude and intensity.
Padraig Kenny, Sunday Tribune, 29 April Compelling characters and a dizzying narrative. Mick Heaney, Sunday Times, 29 April This hugely ambitious novel…roams like a camera across the broken landscape of the southern states. Aisling Foster, The Times, 28 April A superb novel… Redemption Falls is pure gold. The quality of the writing is coruscating. A fantastic book. Paula Shields, Irish Examiner, 1 May Joseph O'Connor's magnificent new novel Redemption Falls …is as richly digressive a narrative as Ulysses or Finnegans Wake …full of hybridity and miscegenation, mixed tongues and cross-bred identities.
Jeremiah O'Moody's accent is a blend of Louisiana twang and Irish brogue, and the novel itself brims with a Babel of idioms, from African-American to high-class Manhattan. It is a gloriously polyphonic work, full of overlapping voices and clashing dialects… Redemption Falls is a major work of modern fiction from an astonishingly accomplished writer. Terry Eagleton, The Guardian, 5 May A superb artistic achievement, worthy of comparison with Toni Morrison's Beloved. This book consolidates and deepens O'Connor's stature as a major novelist. It has the same remarkable qualities: an epic treatment set against a backdrop of painful history, told through brilliantly realised voices and idioms in a pastiche of fictionalised documentary sources, driven by a supercharged narrative pulsing with energy, musical cadence and original imagery.
Joseph O'Connor confirms his mastery of this form. His status as both an international best-selling star and a serious contender for the highest literary awards thoroughly deserves to be amplified by Redemption Falls. John Linklater, Sunday Herald, 6 May. Powerful…An irresistible read. Lucille Redmond, Evening Herald, 7 May. Redemption Falls is trauma incarnate, but is effect is compassionate and numinous.
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Will almost certainly enhance his already starry reputation…Its gripping pages ripple with energy…. The ending packs one of literature's most daring and brilliant shocks - the sort that make you want to begin again from page one with redoubled relish. Tom Adair, The Scotsman, 12 May Remarkable prose and storytelling skills A major novel of the Irish diaspora, a triumph. A piece of virtuoso writing, a tour-de-force….
Redemption Falls is a novel of vaulting ambition, managing to work on a kaleidoscopic canvas while still evoking in minute detail the flavours of that volatile period. It is impossible not to get lost in the landscape of this novel, this magnificent octopus which stretches its tentacles back into the past, gathering a wild group of characters, glancing quickly from one to the other and allowing the kind of equality between voices — men and women, masters and slaves, black and white — that wars like the Civil War were fought over. Very few novels suggest that their author is astonished on every page.
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Redemption Falls is one. Make no mistake, the writer of a historical novel can be just as experimental, challenging and contemporary as any of the supposedly clever but all-too-disposable zeitgeist tomes of the Granta Under types. A novel like this stands or falls on simple criteria — is the story so powerful the reader loses himself in it, abandons his duties in order to discover what happens next?
The answer is a resounding yes. A linguistic triumph…. Kazuo Ishiguro has said novelists produce their major achievements in a concentrated period of their lives, from their mid-thirties to late forties. Redemption Falls is just such an achievement. Another winner…. M, 17 May A story immersed in historical context and built on devastating authenticity Kim Bunce, The Observer, 20 May Language richer than a Victorian plum pudding…An extraordinary mosaic of a novel in which the complete picture is made up from vivid descriptive passages, journal entries, ballads, verses, court testimony and cross examinations…Powerful and impressive, the narrative has the ring of truth.
None of these has been written by an Irishman, of course, or lent such a singular voice — or miscellany of voices — to the immigrant experience. Weaving multiple strands of narrative, it provides an intimate account of individuals struggling to make sense of themselves and of rapidly changing times. The subjective nature of truth is a central theme, and the same events viewed through different eyes produce a kaleidoscopic effect.
Patched together with letters, eyewitness accounts, press reports, ballads and poems, the novel is constantly shifting perspective, evolving into a disquisition on the art of storytelling itself. This is no 'bookstory It is a tale that continues long after most of the protagonists are dead and binds the past indelibly to the present and future. Beautifully written, Redemption Falls is a love story and a 'tale of war'. Evoking the rumbustious essence of s America, O'Connor also explores the imponderables of human existence.
Life is an enigma, 'an appearance not comprehended', yet in spite of this, acts of huge personal sacrifice, idealism and bravery are committed. Beset though it may be with the bloody confusions of history, at the heart of O'Connor's masterful epic lies a universal hope for something better. Anna Scott, The Observer, 27 May An enormous undertaking, not only in it its sheer size but also its narrative sweep…With its innovative structure — letters, doodles, ballads and posters are all put to use in the text — the novel manages to strike the reader as a huge literary achievement, but not at the expense of the story.
It is , and sixteen-year-old Eliza Duane Mooney sets out on an extraordinary adventure, walking west across the country from her home in Louisiana. She is searching for her brother Jeremiah, whom she has not seen for four years since he ran away to become a drummer boy in the Confederate army.
According to the critic,. The primary object of the translated and rehabilitated French play, which has been rendered into English under the title of Cora; or Love and Passion , may have been mainly political. Tom Taylor, in his well known and still popular play, has assumed to exist in England under an abuse of the ticket-of-leave system.
In the English version of the play, which has been prepared by Mr. It exposes the operation of laws and prejudices in European society not less powerful or mischievous than the revolting separation of caste, based on the accidents of birth and blood, which at one time [were] established in the slave-holding States of America, and to some extent still exists, and the inevitable failure and hurtful power of all attempts to fetter by artificial restrictions the innocent development of human nature.
He is also charged with stealing a considerable sum of money from her. None of the characters presented in the first act—nor indeed in the rest of the drama—has any professional relationship to the law or to legal proceedings.
Fearing her disapproval, he decides to write her a letter. Cora, for her part, is thrilled to see the coast of France come into view. She believes that she will be free there and no longer suffer the slights and indignities to which she had been subject in New Orleans. Does it [he asks] include the privilege to this enthusiast [Cora] to smile on whom she pleases?
Has a betrothed woman in France the heritage of infidelity, the liberty to betray? Although he briefly leaves Cora with the two men, George soon returns to order that she prepare at once to disembark with him. Sensing an opportunity to detach Cora from George, Mazilier offers to escort her to shore. She has not yet agreed to accept his offer when George returns to ask that she look after their luggage and to say that he still cannot present her to his mother.
He insists he will return for her later and book her into another hotel and then leaves. It is largely static.
It gives immediate life to the principal characters and builds the tensions that will set them at odds with one another. It presents, in somewhat exotic terms, the familiar story of a jealous lover, a spurned woman, and an unscrupulous rogue. That setting facilitates and lends credibility to the comings and goings of various characters. Marcelle appears to be dying, and the doctor suspects she may be suffering from the same heart disease that killed her late mother. Reciprocated love, the doctor suggests, might restore her health. The question then becomes what to do.
Does he have the right to happiness and a new life? His mother wishes she could consult someone on the matter. Mazilier expects Cora will join them, although she had earlier declined the invitation to do so. After they leave, George and his mother arrive to discuss the future. She wants him to live with her in Paris and to marry a young woman she has chosen for him. George is forced to admit that he is betrothed. Cora is still outraged that George abandoned her on board the ship and suggests that his apparent disavowal of her puts feelings of love and hate in perilous proximity in her heart and mind.
Cora then declares that she no longer loves George and wants to end their engagement. Thereupon Mazilier and Potain return. While they are away, George reappears to enquire about the conversation between his mother and Cora. She claims that Cora told her George was her slave but that she had tired of his worship and then went off with Mazilier and Potain. George is livid and shows his mother the pistol he carries in his pocket. George and Cora then quarrel. George insists that she must come with him to Paris. His first name—Georges—and the description of him that Cora is provided cause her to wonder if he might be du Hamel, the object of her continued obsession for the past eight years.
Cora sends her interlocutor off to the gaming tables and then discusses with Mazilier their trip to the galleys in Toulon four years earlier. Cora had wanted to assure herself that Georges was serving out his sentence and was suffering. After doing so, he also explains why he believes the law ought to be repealed. Nonetheless, the law is still in force, he says, and must be respected. Soon de Rives arrives to play cards.
He expects his son-in-law to appear shortly to tell him how his daughter is faring. When he does so, he is obliged to meet his hostess. They recognise each other. Mazilier soon recognises Georges as well. She insists that Georges meet her in her garden to discuss the consequences of their unexpected meeting.
Reappearing Characters in Nineteenth-Century French Literature
The scene changes to the garden. The action begins, rather implausibly, with Dr. Cora and Mazilier then discuss their visit to Toulon four years earlier and the possibility that du Hamel might now be living in Paris. George and Cora recognise each other; she insists that they must talk. Mazilier also recognises George. While she still loves him, she is unwilling to share him with his betrothed. Who traced it? For which play? The two texts are now more closely aligned. Instead, in the English adaptation, regular references to race replace references to the law. Mazilier warns Cora that her unrelenting jealousy and preoccupation with George s could unsettle her mind.
She fears going mad and being locked away for life but does not believe that will happen.
Vichy France - Wikipedia
She loves George s and wants him to remember their past, but he refuses. She tells George s he is free to leave and then says he cannot. He denies it, but Cora will not disavow having been his mistress. Marcelle says she is dying and that she could forgive Georges a crime but not his betrayal. He then escorts his wife out the door, looking daggers at Cora as he departs and calling her mad.
Cora wants to punish Georges but momentarily loses her mind. She thinks about revealing his past crime to his wife but realises that he has already confessed it to her. In the end there is salvation for the du Hamel-de Rives family. Marcelle takes pity on her. Marcelle pardons George and then comforts and consoles Cora as she dies. While germane to the reworking of French dramas for British audiences, addressing those matters in depth would require more space than is available here.
Wills has certainly, in three cases, been very successful in obtaining public recognition of his work when he has aimed at a high standard; I mean in Charles I , Jane Shore , and Olivia. But how many other plays has he given us which are full of the highest dramatic merit, and yet are comparatively unknown? To be sure, Cora is not an original work; it is based on a French model.
If the English playwright shifts attention from matters of French law, he does not abandon that subject altogether. In light of this transformation, perhaps we ought to consider translation and adaptation a source of, rather than an impediment to, creativity and declare the concept of national literature an aesthetic construct as artificial and as mutable as the boundary lines drawn on maps. Belot , Adolphe. Paris: Dentu, Le Drame de la rue de la Paix.
Le Drame de la rue de la Paix, drame en cinq actes. Victor Richon. Edinburgh: H. Robinson, etc.