magisterium37 (magisterium37) wrote,

Book Review: Teleny, Or The Reverse Of The Medal

Currently reading a book of homosexual love/erotica penned in 1893, sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde, though takes a great effort of credulity to believe it was in actuality written by him. In fact, he is the last writer I would ever give this anonymous novella credit for. I do have my own ideas as to who may have written it, and might expound further upon the topic at some later date.

ETA: 1 January 2016

After completing this, I confess my final opinion on both book and its subject matter to be somewhat divided. Having read it to gain insight, I can say with honesty it did provide that in spades, and the initial half of the story does convey a deep love between Teleny and Camille with such a lyrical prose, I had to put it aside at intervals just to recover.

Then comes the latter half, wherein after a symbolic "marriage" takes place, Teleny brings Camille to some pseudo-bacchanalian orgy, where the only reason, it is explained, they do not take part is because they are still "honeymooning". Implying very strongly the next time around, they would, despite having pledged themselves to one another.

Along those lines is the tragedy of the ending, whereupon, to relieve himself of debts, Teleny sleeps with Camille's own mother. Thereby, what the author shows us directly contradicts that which he has been telling us throughout the story, and unintentionally undermines his own message. In the end, Teleny commits suicide due to Camille's learning of this incident, and whilst it began well, Romeo and Juliet this was not, regardless of the denouement's tragedy.

Nonetheless, this was an interesting and really most insightful book, which I mostly regard in a positive light.

Tags: book reviews, historical fiction, victorian era

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