|About the Book|
[These notes were made in 1981:]. The Bravo of Venice, by Matthew G. (Monk) Lewis, translator/adaptor, from the German original by Zchokke. 1805. I begin to understand the contemporary critical distaste for the German novel. One does not know quite how much to blame Lewis, for he admits to sundry alterations, additions and deletions, but almost certainly the bald, almost folk-tale like structure, and the insistence on (almost ritual) slaying are from the original, for we have seen how elaborately Lewis can fill out a narrative when he feels like it. Besides the absence of any characterization, even at the usual perfunctory Gothic novel level, we have also the double-identity hero/villain (who turns out to be morally proper enough to marry the heroine) to make this almsot a fairy-tale. The thing is not without a certain appeal, but that appeal has almost nothing to do with any outstanding qualities in the telling of it.