Valperga, or, The Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca / Edition 1

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

",,,Curran's edition is an excellent resource for scholarly study and an affordable alternative for the classroom....Curran's footnotes are useful, learned and tactful...[and] he provides a suggestive and illuminating chronology and selective bibliography."--The Wordsworth Circle

"Curran dazzles us with the meticulous and thorough editing that we have come to expect from excellent resource for scholarly study....At every step, Curran quietly and thoroughly immerses readers in the complex historical, political, and biographical context of the novel."--Romantic Circles

Library Journal
Shelley followed up Frankenstein with this 1823 novel that tells the story of a 14th-century Italian prince and the women in his life. This scholarly edition offers the full text plus useful extras such as maps, textual notes, a chronology, and an introduction. A lot for the price. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Library Journal
Shelley's second novel was written in 1822. Like Frankenstein, this is a dark, moody story that follows the adventures of protagonist Castruccio in 14th-century Italy.
Anne K. Mellor University of California
"This is a superb edition of Mary Shelley's historical romance Valperga. Professor Rajan provides an extremely illuminating introduction to the novel, one that if finely informed by her extensive knowledge of women's literary history, Italian history, British Romanticism, and critical theory. She sensitively analyses the ways in which Shelly's complex bio-textual relationships to both her husband and her father play out in the novel. She also provides extensive and invaluable annotations, chronologies, appendices of relevant writings by Godwin, Sismondi, Machiavelli, and the earliest reviews of the novel."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195108828
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Women Writers in English 1350-1850 Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Tillottama Rajan is one of Canada's most distinguished Romanticists. She is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, in the Department of English, University of Western Ontario.
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Table of Contents

Mary Shelley: A Brief Chronology
Chronology of Historical Events Relevant to Valperga
A Note on the Text and Acknowledgements
Appendix A: from Godwin's "Of History and Romance"
Appendix B: from Machiavelli's Life of Castruccio
Appendix C: Extract from Draft Manuscript
Appendix D: from Sismondi's History of the Italian Republics of the Middle Ages, II: 110-12 (translation Rajan)
Appendix E: Reviews of Valperga
1. From The Ladies' Monthly Museum 17 (April, 1823)
2. From Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine 13 (1823)
3. From The Examiner 788 (March 2, 1823)
4. From The Literary Gazette, and Journal of the Belles Lettres 319 (March 1, 1823)
5. From Monthly Review 101 (May, 1823)
Select Bibliography
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