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About the Book Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George William MacArthur
A Little About the Author
George William MacArthur Reynolds (July 1814-June 1879) was a military man turned writer who is best known for The Mysteries of London (1844). Nearly forgotten today, back in his day he was read more than Dickens or Thackeray.
"In the midst of a wood of evergreens on the banks of the Arno, a man - young, handsome, and splendidly attired - has thrown himself upon the ground, where he writhes like a stricken serpent. He is the prey of a demoniac excitement: an appalling consternation is upon him - madness is in his brain - his mind is on fire. Lightnings appear to gleam from his eyes - as if his soul were dismayed, and withering within his breast. 'Oh! no -no!' he cries with a piercing shriek, as if wrestling madly - furiously - but vainly, against some unseen fiend that holds him in his grasp."
Published in 1847, this novel is one of the first of its kind in English Literature written about werewolves. It is set in the sixteenth century and begins with a recently abandoned old man waiting in vain for his granddaughter to return and care for him as a storm rages in the Black Forest surrounding his isolated cottage. To his surprise, a stranger, John Faust, comes and offers him something he cannot refuse: beauty and youth. However, it comes with a price as he must also suffer the curse of the werewolf. Agonizingly desperate and alone, he accepts it without a second thought.
Love, violence, and intrigue are all weaved around Fernand Wagner as he struggles to balance being a human and a murderous animal. As things become more out of hand and uncontrollable, the secret he has been trying to hide may just have to come forth and be faced by all involved, including his beloved Nisida.
Beware of the Kindle version!
I got the free Kindle version of this novel and it was full of question marks in between the text so it was difficult to read and follow. I'm cheap so I kept reading it but I do not recommend it. It's more worth spending the couple of bucks for an actual book or going to the library and borrowing it.
What is Gothic Literature?
- The Gothic Novel: What is Gothic Literature?
A definition for the Gothic novel and its characteristics.
George W.M. Reynolds' Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf is a great read for those who like English literature of this time, and especially Gothic literature. It was particularly interesting to go from reading Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift to this one and observing the contrast between the modern werewolf and the more classic one.
Rice's wolf refers to himself as a man wolf because he is able to control his powers and use them rather than be a victim of them, whereas poor Wagner suffers physically and mentally because of the pain and struggles involved with the transformation itself and keeping it secret. Both are adamant that being a werewolf does not go against God, unlike the vampire, even though in both novels they run rampant, killing in the most vicious and grotesque manner.
It is clear that the werewolf, like the vampire, has undergone a transformation in the media over the many years that its story has been told and retold. If you are a fan of werewolves, this book is a great read in order to gain this insight and really see what I'm talking about.
Other than just the interest in the werewolf, Reynolds tells a great story. It seems to drag a little at parts and a couple of times I was lost as to where the story was going because there were so many characters and to keep track of, most of which didn't immediately include Wagner, but it's an older novel and so things like that are to be expected. It is beautifully written and there were times that I read passages over a few times just because I loved how he describes the scenery and sets the stage for whatever's coming up next. Overall, it was a fun read and a great story so I highly recommend it.
© 2012 LisaKoski