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The Poor Clare par Elizabeth Gaskell
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The Poor Clare (1856)

par Elizabeth Gaskell

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885237,793 (3.47)8
The haunting novella The Poor Clare is one of Elizabeth's Gaskell's Gothic tales. It tells the story of Bridget Fitzgerald, who unwittingly puts a curse on her own estranged daughter and the granddaughter she did not know existed. When she discovers that the curse has fallen on her own kin, Bridget submits herself to the rituals of an obscure religious sect, hoping to lift the curse. The Poor Clare sensitively treats issues of class and Catholic and Protestant religious tension in Victorian England, making this an innovative and thrilling gem from Gaskell's wide-ranging oeuvre.… (plus d'informations)
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» Voir aussi les 8 mentions

5 sur 5
Too short for much character development and the "gothic" part of the story wasn't very supernatural and overly religious. ( )
  Bodagirl | Jun 11, 2017 |
Well done ( )
  brone | Aug 5, 2016 |
In the front of my edition of this book (the Melville House edition that is part of their wonderful Art of the Novella series), there's a brief note that this particular edition is reprinted from Gaskell's Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales (1896 ed.); it first made its appearance in Dickens' Household Words in 1856.

I know that others have labeled this story as a Gothic tale, but in my mind, this story of revenge and redemption sits much more squarely in the supernatural zone. It is a compelling and eerie tale involving a horrific curse that will come to have serious repercussions beyond anything even remotely imaginable. It also opens a window onto anti-Catholic Britain, and reading carefully, it seems to be, in part, a plea for religious tolerance. After all, anti-Catholic feelings were still strong during Gaskell's lifetime, exacerbated by the influx of Irish immigrants coming to England during the Great Famine. Bottom line: as with most of Gaskell's short fiction, there's much more here than a simple tale.

While there are definitely strong undercurrents here, if you're a reader more focused on plot than subtext and just want a well-written, different and entertaining read, The Poor Clare is still a good choice for dark fiction readers. I loved it. It's almost like a mystery in parts; the only down side is that it is a bit abrupt at the end so beware. I had to go back through the last few pages more than once to make sure I got it right. Overall, though, it's one of the strangest tales I've read in a while, and it's a very good one. It's also very unlike Gaskell's other stories that I've read so it might be a new experience for readers who enjoy her work.

If anyone is interested in plot (and more) without spoilers, there's more at my reading journal. ( )
1 voter bcquinnsmom | Jun 14, 2016 |
Another impulse checkout from the library based almost solely on being a Melville House novella.

It's really been a long time since I've read a gothic story, I've forgotten how fun they can be! While simultaneously being full of ringing class inequality indictments and length descriptions of architecture. But fun! Because, who really doesn't want to see an arrogant aristocrat suffer mightily for impulsively shooting a woman's beloved pet? But when lots of other people have to pay, too, it unexpectedly turns into a moral tale of forgiveness and redemption.

Wonderful. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
These two novellas bear nothing in common. One is written by a female, British author, the other is written by a male, American writer. One wrote about family and class relationships, the other wrote about sea-faring adventures. The only common ground is that they were both written in the nineteenth century, pre-Civil War. And they are both rather...um...edgy or shocking.

The Poor Clare speaks elegantly of the Protestant/Catholic and class societal relationships in the north of England. This little story has Gothic overtones with a castle, curses, apparitions, etc. not at all like Gaskell's usual story. I had to double check the cover to make sure she was actually the author!

Melville House says, "The purposeful slaying of lonely Bridget's beloved dog unleashes a torrent of rage that surges down through the generations. In her desire for revenge, Bridget utters a fearful curse on the dog's killer: All that the murderer loves most, he will lose."

My take? Well, it's not a great as Wives and Daughters or North and South, but it is interesting. It's a bit hard to swallow at times because the "demon" or "apparition" seems so unbelievable. ( )
  heidip | Aug 15, 2014 |
5 sur 5
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December 12th, 1747 - My life has been strangely bound up with extraordinary incidents, some of which occurred before I had any connection with the principal actors in them, or, indeed, before I even knew of their existence.
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The haunting novella The Poor Clare is one of Elizabeth's Gaskell's Gothic tales. It tells the story of Bridget Fitzgerald, who unwittingly puts a curse on her own estranged daughter and the granddaughter she did not know existed. When she discovers that the curse has fallen on her own kin, Bridget submits herself to the rituals of an obscure religious sect, hoping to lift the curse. The Poor Clare sensitively treats issues of class and Catholic and Protestant religious tension in Victorian England, making this an innovative and thrilling gem from Gaskell's wide-ranging oeuvre.

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