After deeply excavating the wonders of Philippine Literature, next semester, my literature folk and I will be moving on to English/British Literature. I am expecting a good load of side-folded tongues like Harreh Pottah and Hermoine Granger.
Little did I know, I will have a Booksale good find that will pretty much take me to an overview of what English literature is all about!
What is funny is that I didn't realize The Lady and the Poet is actually a non-fiction story of the life of a famous poet during Queen Elizabeth I era. I thought that it only borrowed a historic setting to make the novel seem real, but apparently, it really is real and that each and all of the characters were once alive in England, and that everything in the book actually happened in real life, perhaps not in the romantic manner as it is in the story.
Ann More, fiery and spirited daughter of the Mores of Loseley House in Surrey, came to London destined for a life at the court of Queen Elizabeth and an advantageous marriage. There she encountered John Donne, the darkly attractive young poet who was secretary to her uncle, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. He was unlike any man she had ever met- angry, clever, witty and in her eyes, insufferably arrogant and careless of women. Yet as they were thrown together, Donne opened Ann's eyes to a new world of passion and sensuality. However, John Donne- Catholic by background in an age when it was deadly dangerous, tainted by an alluring hint of scandal- was the kind of man her status- conscious father distrusted and despised.
Sure enough it sounds like Verona-Montague love story, but the thing is that this book came at the very right time for me. I am still completely drifted away by the big literary works I am indulging myself upon, whether for academic purposes or for a simple leisure experience. The cliche nature of the story literally gave me a rest, wherein I can just sit back and relax, for I know enough where the story is going to.
A love affair in chivalry- a plot almost all the writers around the world have embraced at least once in their writing life. However, what is nice about the story is that it knows when to arouse the readers, or better yet, when to pinch them when they are already being sleepy. There are lots of unexpected happenings that came to the story which added spice to it nonetheless. The external conflicts outside the dreadful love affair of Mistress Ann More and Master John Donne are the ones I value the most. Also, the story gives a sneak peak during the early years of England.
Non-fiction books have the tendency to be drop dead boring, but The Lady and the Poet sure isn't one of those. Though the author herself announce that it is John Donne, not Ann More, that inspired her to do her research and come up with the book, it is a sly decision to come out in the lady's perspective. Haran really knows that when it comes to romance and love, a girl's hormone can do much of the talking.Also, the book can stand as a history book as well, only that it is deeply romanticized, but nevertheless, still informative.
I would have to admit that Haran's verbose style of writing didn't amuse me, I value brevity. Of course, it is given that such languidness is a necessity to uplift the classical appeal of the book but I do think that there is a better way around to put the book's meaning across. However, John Donne the poet himself have such a great command of language, and so is Haran.
I am a great fan of chivalry, there I said it, but I do hope that you realize how much I restrained myself so that I may give you fair and just opinions over the book. If you are looking for something that will make you Aww that's so sweet! or you simply want to take a look on how mistresses and maidens go before, then The Lady and the Poet is the right read for you! And you will get a good number of classical poems as a freebies!
To His Mistress Going to Bed
Master John Donne
Come Madam, come, all rest my powers defy;
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times, having foe in sight,
Is tired with standing, though they never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate, which you wear
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopped there;
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now 'tis your bed-time.
Yes, Master John Donne has a reputation of being reckless among women. Yet if you dig deeper than the pervert side, you can sense that perhaps it conveys a relationship between a lord and master or a lady to her kingdom. Excellent.