Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chapter 27: In Which the Contrived Obstacle is Conveniently Resolved

Previously in Varney the Vampire: I rant a bit more than usual.

I already kind of covered Chapter 27 (THE NOBLE CONFIDENCE OF FLORA BANNERWORTH IN HER LOVER. -- HER OPINION OF THE THREE LETTERS. -- THE ADMIRAL'S ADMIRATION.) in the last chapter, albeit briefly, which leaves me in the awkward place of not having much more to say about it, except to repeat "stupid" over and over while banging my head against a wall.

As I've mentioned before, I'm reading from the annotated edition by Curt Herr, who is at a great advantage over me not only due to being a scholar of this sort of thing and not just a bored fan with a blog, but due to not having committed himself to commenting on every chapter.

The essential problem with Varney the Vampire is not that it is good or bad, but that it is inconsistent. I rant for a few chapters about how bad it is, giggle delightfully for a few chapters about how entertainingly cheesy it is, and then read a legitimately good chapter or two and feel genuinely bad for making fun of it. The good parts are more interesting to read, but the bad parts are more interesting to comment on.

As to Chapter 27 in particular, the two main problems here are the whiplash, which I mentioned in the last post (and which I'm sure there's a literary name for that I've simply not learned) and the problematic portrayal of Flora, which just keeps rearing its ugly head. Once more, the story is All About the Men. Henry and the Admiral share the letters with Marchdale before deigning to excite poor Flora over their contents, and when she dares to react with emotion they declare her mad. After she asserts that the letters are forgeries (forged by whom and why? it doesn't matter, apparently), Marchdale doesn't even seem to believe her:
It was quite clear that he considered Flora had spoken from the generous warmth of her affection as regarded Charles Holland, and not from the conviction which reason would have enforced her to feel.
Because, as we all know, Our Heroes' reaction to the vampire has always been the epitome of reason...

But it doesn't matter. Flora entrusts the men with the task of finding Charles, and I'm left wondering where this story is going and why.

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