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The Room in the Dragon Volant (1872)

av Sheridan Le Fanu

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474550,110 (3.59)2
Classic Literature. Fiction. Mystery. HTML:

At the tail end of the Napoleonic Wars, wealthy British heir Richard Beckett decides to spend some time in France. On his way there, he stumbles across an overturned carriage and encounters two people who will alter the course of his life. Afterwards, he makes his way to a nearby innand unknowingly checks himself into a room that is believed to be cursed.

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Visar 4 av 4
How surprised I was, being passing familiar with Le Fanu's work, to find the mysteries so implied here to be entirely mundane, even with the twists and turns layering them with hints of the supernatural!

. . .I was not, surprised, however, with the turn that took our supposed hero as he continued on his lovestruck crusade. For all that I saw the scam, and nexus of crimes before it was revealed to him, the reveal was still quite interesting, as was the wrap up of the story entire. ( )
  Kalira | May 19, 2024 |
A gothic novella that put me in mind of [a:Ann Radcliffe|43220|Ann Radcliffe|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1206589711p2/43220.jpg]'s [b:The Mysteries of Udolpho|93134|The Mysteries of Udolpho|Ann Radcliffe|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1309376731l/93134._SY75_.jpg|3253891], having the same atmosphere and underlying horrors. The story is that of Richard Beckett, a young Englishman on holiday in France, who runs into a rather wicked situation in his efforts to save an unhappy young wife from her jealous elderly husband.

Like so much gothic writing, it is patently predictable, but that would hardly have been the case at the time it was written. We have simply seen the plots of this time recycled too often for them to any longer hold surprise. What is delightful about a story such as this is the writing itself. Superb.

A few feet in front of the steps a fountain, fed from the great ponds at the other side of the chateau, was making a constant tinkle and plashing in a wide marble basin, and the jet of water glimmered like a shower of diamonds in the broken moonlight. The very neglect and half-ruinous state of all this made it only the prettier, as well as sadder. I was too intently watching for the arrival of the lady, in the direction of the chateau, to study these things; but the half-noted effect of them was romantic, and suggested somehow the grotto and the fountain, and the apparition of Egeria.

How do you not delight in that? ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
'The Room in the Dragon Volant' I had read in another story collection some years ago before encountering it again in Ghost Stories and Mysteries [of J. Sheridan Le Fanu]. This means I can't be sure that I was so much more suspicious than young Richard Beckett because of subconscious memories, or because I'm 40 years older and not infatuated.

The year is 1815, Napoleon vanquished at Waterloo, and our reasonably rich Mr. Beckett is making his first visit to France. He first encounters the ugly old Nicholas de la Marque, Count de St. Alyre, and his beautiful countess, Eugenie, on his way to Paris. Twice he is able to help them out. He also meets the Marquis d'Harmonville, who is on a mysterious mission, and therefore going by the alias of Monsieur Droqville. Another meeting is with the boastful Colonel Gaillarde.

Richard can't get the beautiful countess out of his mind. The marquis not only directs him to the inn known as Le Dragon Volant, but gives him a card to attend a masked party at the palace of Versailles. There Richard has his questions answered by an oracle known as Confu, who can even tell him the last thing the countess said to him. Richard learns more about the countess from her best friend, who sets up a meeting with the lovely lady.

Richard's servant, St. Clair, has already told him about two gentlemen who had been staying at the Dragon Volant and mysteriously vanished before the eyes of the other guests. Both of them had the very room that Richard has been given.

Richard runs into an English friend who introduces him to a man with the police who is able to give more details about the disappearances. (The truth is less picturesque than what St. Clair was told, but still very mysterious.)

Richard winds up in dire peril, which the reader will figure out well before he does.

CHAPTER NOTES (name dropping, in order of appearance, will be at the end of each chapter's notes, so check for your favorite authors, composers, songs, fictional characters, etc.):

Chapter 1 Mention:: Napoleon.

Chapter 3: Look here for the song about death and love that the countess sings.

Chapter 5: The colonel tells how he got some of his scars here.

Chapter 11 Mention: the Wandering Jew (the fictional character, not the plant)

Chapter 18 Mention: Bacchus

Chapter 20 Mention: Countess d'Aulnois (Countess d'Aulnoy)

Chapter 21 Mentions: Notre Dame, Conciergerie, the Palais de Justice, Sainte Chapelle, Canon Fulbert, Abelard, and Eloise (Heloise)

If there's any fault to this story, it's that we are hearing it from Richard as an old man. The dire peril scene is very well written, but it would have been better if we were left to wonder if he would survive, not how it would be managed. ( )
  JalenV | Jan 25, 2018 |
Una extraordinaria narrativa que va involucrando al lector hasta llegar a un punto en que es imposible dejar de leer los momentos mas emocionantes de la historia. Este estilo de escritura es imposible de encontrar en nuestros días. ( )
  darioha | Nov 9, 2015 |
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The curious case which I am about to place before you, is referred to, very pointedly, and more than once, in the extraordinary Essay upon the drugs of the Dark and Middle Ages, from the pen of Doctor Hesselius. (prologue)
In the eventful year, 1815, I was exactly three-and-twenty, and had just succeeded to a very large sum in consols, and other securities. (chapter 1)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Mystery. HTML:

At the tail end of the Napoleonic Wars, wealthy British heir Richard Beckett decides to spend some time in France. On his way there, he stumbles across an overturned carriage and encounters two people who will alter the course of his life. Afterwards, he makes his way to a nearby innand unknowingly checks himself into a room that is believed to be cursed.

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