Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crusading through volume one.

The Albigenses by Charles Robert Maturin is 4 volumes! I did not know this when placing my interlibrary loan request. So I’m waiting for volumes 2 through 4 to come in! This entry is only about volume 1. I think I’ll write a separate entry about each volume. I don’t want to forget my thoughts about volume 1 by the time I reach the end of the series.

These books are no joke. Volume 1 is 439 pages long. However, the print is on the large side so it is probably more like a 250 to 300 pager if it were set in normal size type. But in any event, I’m looking at 1200+ pages.

THANKFULLY, I like the topic. The book was published in the 1820s and it’s about a crusade in the 1200s. I’m not sure which crusade it was, but the crusaders are aiming to stamp out heresy in the Languedoc, not take over Jerusalem. The Albigeois are a group of religious nonconformists that the crusaders are attempting to get rid of. It is really interesting to view the 1200s through the lens of an 1820s writer.

Volume 1 deals more with the personalities and characters of the crusaders, not the Albigeois. And there is a lot of intrigue and interesting stuff going on. One of the knights, Paladour, has a mysterious background and a sense of déjà vu when he enters the towers of the Lord of Courtenaye. There are all kinds of scary things going on including a mystery woman who seems to be up to no good. Oh, and the beautiful Lady Isabelle.

Marissa is going to laugh at me. But this book reminds me a little bit of The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. The Other Boleyn Girl was an attempt to fictionalize medieval history for a 21st century audience. And similarly, at least so far, The Albigenses is an attempt to fictionalize some aspects of medieval history for a 19th century audience. I have no idea whether Maturin’s work succeeded in the 1800s but it succeeds with me. I’m excited to get the other volumes and dive back in.

I have Albert Angelo here and I may try to knock that one out (only 180 pages!) while I wait for volumes 2 through 4 of The Albigenses.

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