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Love and Life - Publication details, summary and bibliography
(Text kindly supplied by Amy de Gruchy)
1880, published by Macmillan
The novel is a version of the Cupid and Psyche legend, set in eighteenth-century England.
Aurelia (Psyche, meaning the soul or life) is the youngest daughter of Major Delavie who manages an estate supposedly the property of his cousin, Lady Belamour (Venus). Her son, Sir Amyas Belamour (Cupid, or Love) sees and falls in love with Aurelia, though she has not seen him. His mother, who wishes him to marry a wealthy heiress, sends Aurelia to a distant mansion, belonging to the Belamour family. It is inhabited by a recluse, the uncle and guardian of Sir Amyas, who has the same name and surname.
Aurelia's task is to care for Lady Belamour's triplet daughters (the three Graces) by her second marriage to Mr Wayland (Vulcan), but she also befriends and cheers the recluse, though she never sees him, as he lives in darkened rooms. When Sir Amyas eventually finds Aurelia Lady Belamour insists that the girl must marry his guardian. This she is willing to do, but unknown to her the uncle and nephew agree that the younger man shall be the bridegroom, the substitution made possible by the darkened room.
The visits of Sir Amyas arouse the suspicions of Lady Belamour, and she arrives just as Aurelia's curiosity to see her husband has caused an accident to him. Lady Belamour punishes her by taking her to a half-derelict house in London, and setting her various tasks. Lady Belamour's lover, Colonel Mar, becomes enamoured of the girl, who firmly rejects his advances. This does not satisfy Lady Belamour, who arranges that she shall be shipped to the West Indies.
Her husband and his uncle, her father and sister have all been searching for her, and are just in time to rescue her. Mr \Wayland, who has been abroad, returns and takes his wife and children to America. Among the papers that Aurelia had to sort in the old London house was one which proved that her father was the true owner of the estate that he had managed. Sir Amyas and Aurelia have a second wedding ceremony, and his uncle, no longer a recluse, marries her good elder sister, so all ends happily.
Of the characters, the females are well-drawn. Lady Belamour is a convincing villainess, a ruthless opportunist, intelligent and manipulative, but with a beauty and charm that conquers most people. Betty Delavie is the good maternal elder sister of Aurelia, the stay and support of the family. Aurelia is a gentle, dutiful, affectionate young girl whose response to her ardent bridegroom's caresses and the arousal of new emotions is well-shown. The main male characters are believable, and there is a lively collection of background figures, servants, children and country folk whose behaviour and dialogue is convincing.
The moral and religious teaching is strongly conveyed. Love and life are shown to be linked in the spiritual as well as the earthly realm. Aurelia is aroused to greater earnestness by a sermon in which the divine love is shown to awaken the soul to new life, and this is the final hope of Major Delavie for Lady Belamour. Aurelia's excitement and elation after her marriage lead to a neglect of her prayers and duties, with the result that she fails in trust and obedience and gives way to her curiosity. However, she repents and as a result of her trials becomes more devout and more mature.
C.M. Yonge was well read in eighteenth-century literature, and this is apparent in the language and customs shown in the novel.
For contemporary reviews see L. Madden, J.B. Shorthouse and C.M. Yonge, unpublished thesis, University of London Diploma in Librarianship, 1964.
Yonge's own Preface to the Second Edition
of Love and Life
|Apuleius himself maintains an extensive and very cheerful personal website.|
|If this is too much for you, try this more compact website with links to works online|
For copies of Apuleius' work online:
|Adlington's translation of 1566 seems very popular (this edition by Martin Guy, 1996)|
very determined may wish to try a
Latin copy of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche
(and indeed the rest Apuleius' works).
Beauty and the Beast
The Black Bull of Norroway
Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681)
"... Christians gave a higher meaning to the fable, and saw in it the Soul, or the Church, to whom her Bridegroom has been for a while made known striving after Him through many trials, to be made one with Him after passing through Death. The Spanish poet Calderon made it the theme of two sacred dramas, in which the lesson of Faith, not Sight, was taught, with special reference to the Holy Eucharist ... "
PEDRO CALDERON , generally
refered to simply as Calderon
short biog - http://www.theatrehistory.com/spanish/calderon001.html
longer biog - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc49.html
of Caleron's "Sacred drama" - autos
sacramentales (one-act religious plays) among
them El divino Orfeo and A Dios por
razón de estado [to God for reasons of state]
A form of dramatic literature which is peculiar to Spain, though in some respects similar in character to the old Morality plays of England. The auto sacramental may be defined as a dramatic representation of the mystery of the Eucharist (at least at the time of Calderón).
Blachford Tighe (1772-1810)
"... In the early part of the century, Mrs. Tighe wrote a poem in Spenserian stanza, called Psyche ..."
Title : "Psyche
, or, The Legend Of Love.
Mary Tighe, 1805
" ... Mr. Morris has more lately sung the story in his Earthly Paradise ... "
William Morris was a pioneering socialist, craftsman, book designer, typographer and decorative artist, founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and author of intense short lyric, long poetic narratives, and utopian-socialist prose romances.
You may also like to visit the website of the William
Morris Gallery this Gallery's internationally important
collections illustrate William Morris's life, work and influence. It has
permanent displays of printed, woven and embroidered fabrics, rugs, carpets,
wallpapers, furniture, stained glass and painted tiles designed by Morris
himself and by Edward Burne-Jones, Philip Webb, Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
Ford Madox Brown and others who together founded the firm of Morris, Marshall,
Faulkner & Company in 1861. The Gallery is in Walthamstow, in north-east
Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901) is notable as author of a number of contemporary domestic novels which vividly represent life in large Victorian families in provincial England. Some were best-sellers in their day, particularly The Heir of Redclyffe and The Daisy Chain. She also wrote several historical novels, including Love and Life: an old story in eighteenth century costume (1880) ostensibly a romance set in the reign of George II. She conveys admirably the feel of town and country life of that period; various minor characters have a liveliness and individuality almost equalling that of Austen or Gaskell.
The ‘old story’ of the title is the myth of Eros and Psyche (Love and Soul), best known from Apuleius’ Metamorphoses or Golden Ass, and immensely popular in nineteenth-century art. Just as Yonge had rendered the legend of Hercules within a mid-Victorian milieu in My Young Alcides (1875), so she now transposed Apuleius’ story, plus elements of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, into the Georgian period.
The novel requires reading at two
levels to identify the mythical referent and
interpret it in terms of the Christian life.
Yonge was a High Church Anglican, and Love
and Life is both a tale of commitment,
abduction and fidelity, and simultaneously
an allegory of the soul’s progress. The use
of a mythical paradigm highlights crucial
episodes while maintaining the Tractarian
attitude of reserve towards religious experience.
The novel’s construction of Christian femininity
is made more pointed in that the context allows
dramatic plot circumstances unavailable in
Yonge’s contemporary domestic works.