Paper - Marie Corelli - The Soul of Lilith

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Mary Mc Kay, better known under her pen name Marie Corelli, was one of the most renown novel writers of late-nineteenth and early twentieth century Great-Britain. Some of her novels sold at more than a hundred thousand each and were, in her time,
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  Marie Kawthar DaoudaMaster 2 – LLCE AnglaisSéminaire « Poésie et Poétique »Semestre  – Dé!em"re 2#$ Mar% M! Ka%& "etter 'nown under her (en name )Marie Corelli*& was one o+ the mostrenown no,el writers o+ late-nineteenth and earl% twentieth !entur% .reat-/ritain0 Some o+ her +i!tions were sold at more than a hundred thousand ea!h and were& in her time& more (o(ular thanArthur Conan Do%le1s or ud%ard Ki(ling1s  0 James Agate wrote that she combined “theimagination of a Poe with the style of an Ouida and the mentality of a nursemaid 2 ”. This attack definitely strikes home. Corelli's eccentric ways – she would navigate the Thames on a gondola -were part of a very accurate and elaborated marketing strategy. From her pen name, through whichshe claimed being a descendant of Archangelo Corelli and displayed a fake French Catholic lineage,to her pictures that were chosen in order to make her look thinner and younger, her persona as awriter was, in itself, a work of art. Moreover, through constant allusions to Shakespeare, Goethe ormore contemporary artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti or Algernon Swinburne, she managed tocreate a crowd-pleasing fictional universe where every reader could find echoes of his own tastes.Corelli was most renowned +or the wa% she intertwined esoteri! !on!e(ts with so!ial satire0 3houghthe (resent state o+ resear!h ma'es it di++i!ult to de+ine (re!isel% what Corelli read or heard o+ .erman idealism& gnosis or neo(latonism& she e4(li!itl% mentions theoso(h% in se,eral o+ her no,els& where she summons !on!e(ts "orrowed +rom Christian s!ien!e& s(iritualism or neo(latonism0 The Soul of Lilith  was (u"lished in 56 and is t%(i!all% re(resentati,e o+ Corelli1se4(eriments on what was %et to "e !alled s!ien!e-+i!tion0 3his three-,olume no,el "egins with a note stating that the e,ents related are true& and thatthe narrati,e should rather "e read as a re(ort on an e4(eriment than as a wor' o+ +i!tion7 3he +ollowing stor% does not assume to "e what is generall% understood "% a 8no,el08 9t is sim(l%the a!!ount o+ a strange and daring e4(eriment on!e a!tuall% attem(ted& and is o++ered to those whoare interested in the unseen 8(ossi"ilities8 o+ the :erea+ter& merel% +or what it is&;a single e(isode inthe li+e o+ a man who ,oluntaril% sa!ri+i!ed his whole worldl% !areer in a su(reme e++ort to (ro,e thea((arentl% <n(ro,a"le = 0 3his warning onl% em(hasi>es the tension& sustained all through the narrati,e& "etween realism and+an!%0 3he (lot is !entered on three !hara!ters& El-?mi @aranos – the man mentioned in the  n Corelli1s selling +igures& see Billiam Stuart S!ott&1s  Marie Corelli, The Story of a Friendship & London&:ut!hinson& 6& (0 2== and Annette 0 ederi!o&  Idol of Suburbia, Marie Corelli and Late-Victorian LiteraryCulture & <ni,ersit% Press o+ irginia& Charlotes,ille-London& 2###& (0 $-F0 2 Billiam Stuart S!ott&  Marie Corelli, The story of a friendship, London  ,  :ut!hinson& 6& (0 2$=0 = The Soul of Lilith & London& /entle% G Sons& 5620   warning& an eastern magneti>er who inherited the esoteri! 'nowledge o+ the an!ient Chaledans& his%oung "rother éra>& whom El-?mi turned into a (oet "% using his magneti! in+luen!e& and aslee(ing maiden named Lilith& 'e(t in a se!ret room o+ their house in London0 El-?mi +ound Lilithd%ing in the desert ten %ears earlier0 At the ,er% moment when she was a"out to (ass awa%& heh%(noti>ed her and inHe!ted in her ,eins a m%sterious +luid !harged with astral energ%0 3hrough thismeans& he 'e(t her "od% ali,e& though aslee(& while he 'e(t using his h%(noti! (ower o,er her s(iritin order to ma'e her e4(lore the whole uni,erse in sear!h o+ .od and o+ :ell I 0 :is "rother1s in+luen!e 'ee(s éra> awa% +rom the world and ma'es him thri,e on dreamsthat +requentl% lead him to a remote hea,enl% (lanet0 3he da% he is summoned "% Lilith1s ,oi!e inthe room she is 'e(t& he is re,olted "% his "rother1s use o+ her as a means +or his e4(eriments& andEl-?mi +or!es him to +orget the ,er% name o+ Lilith0 As the narrati,e goes on& El-?mi1s !hara!ter e,ol,es& and his +austian quest +or 'nowledge is graduall% re(la!ed "% an intense desire +or Lilith0At the ,er% moment when& lo!'ed u( in Lilith1s room& he is !ontem(lating the e,entualit% o+ wa'ingher +rom her h%(noti! slee( to "e her lo,er& éra> utters the name o+ Lilith& thus unlo!'ing hismemor% o+ her& then he is !arried "% e!hoes o+ ossetti1s (oetr% into a state o+ m%sti!al re,eriewhere he sees a !rowd mar!hing towards the (la!e where Lilith1s soul& +reed +rom El-?mi1sin+luen!e& is a"out to !ross the s'% towards hea,en0 9t had +lashed a!ross his mind li'e a "eam o+ light or a hea,en-sent signal&;he was at wor'& writingat his (oem& when some sudden ine4(li!a"le instin!t had (rom(ted him to li+t his e%es and murmur de,outl% ;8.od de+end LilithJ8 LilithJ;how so+t the sound o+ itJ;how in+initel% "ewit!hingJ A+ter ha,ing lost it +or so long& it had !ome "a!' to him in a moment;how or wh%& he !ould not imagine0 :e !ould onl% a!!ount+or it in one wa%;namel%& that El-?mi1s will-+or!es were so !on!entrated on some (arti!ularl% a"sor"ingo"He!t that his dail% in+luen!e on his "rother1s %oung li+e was there"% materiall% lessened0 And éra> was "%no means sorr% that this should "e so08Bh% should it matter that 9 remem"er her name8 he mused;89 shall ne,er s(ea' o+ her;+or 9 ha,e sworn9 will not0 /ut 9 !an thin' o+ her to m% heart1s !ontent&;the "eauti+ul LilithJ83hen he +ell to !onsidering the old legend o+ that Lilith who it is said was Adam1s +irst wi+e&;and hesmiled as he thought what a name o+ e,il omen it was to the ews& who had !harms and talismans wherewithto e4or!ise the su((osed e,il in+luen!e !onne!ted with it&;while to him& éra>& it was a name sweeter thanhone%-sweet singing0 3hen there !ame to his mind stra% snat!hes o+ (oes%&;deli!ate rh%mes +rom the ri!hand ,aried stores o+ one o+ his +a,ourite (oets Dante .a"riel ossetti&;rh%mes that sounded in his ears Hustnow li'e the stro(hes o+ a si"%lline !hant or s(ell7; 89t was Lilith the wi+e o+ Adam7Sing Eden /owerJN Oot a dro( o+ her "lood was human&/ut she was made li'e a so+t sweet woman088And that is surel% trueJ8 said éra> to himsel+& a little startled&;8or;i+ she is dead& as El-?mi asserts&and her seeming li+e is "ut the result o+ his art& then indeed in the !ase o+ this Lilith 1not a dro( o+ her "lood ishuman018And the (oem ran on in his mind;  I 3he theme o+ mesmerism in articulo mortis is !learl% "orrowed +rom Edgar Allan Poe0 Lilith1s awa'ening s!enerewrites )3he a!ts un the !ase o+ Mister aldemar* 5IN and her soul tra,eling is quite a'in to what is des!ri"edin )Mesmeri! e,elation* 5IIN0 n Edgar Allan Poe and mesmerism& see Sidne% E0 Lind& )Poe and Mesmerism*&PMLA& ol0 $2& nI& 2Q6IF& (0 #FF-#6I0 2  8Lilith stood on the s'irts o+ EdenAlas& the hourJNShe was the +irst that then!e was dri,en7Bith her was hell& and with E,e was hea,en088Oa%& 9 should trans(ose that&8;murmured the %oung man drowsil%& staring out on the moonlit street;89should sa% 1Bith E,e was hell& and with Lilith hea,en01 :ow strange it is 9 should ne,er ha,e thought o+ this (oem "e+oreJ;and 9 ha,e o+ten turned o,er the (ages o+ ossetti1s "oo'&;sin!e;sin!e 9 saw herR;9 mustha,e a!tuall% seen the name o+ Lilith (rinted there& and %et it ne,er suggested itsel+ to me as "eing +amiliar or o++ering an% sort o+ !lue08:e sighed (er(le4edl%&;the heliotro(e odours +loated around him& and the gleam o+ the lam( in theroom seemed to (ale in the wide s(lendour o+ the moon-ra%s (ouring through the window&;and still thedeli!ate s(rite o+ Poes% !ontinued to remind him o+ +amiliar lines and ,erses he lo,ed& though all the whilehe thought o+ Lilith& and 'e(t on wondering ,aguel% and ,ainl% what would "e& what !ould "e& the end o+ his "rother1s e4(eriment whate,er that was& +or he& éra>& did not 'nowN on the lo,el%& a((arentl% li,ing girlwho %et was dead0 9t was ,er% strange;and surel%& it was also ,er% terri"leJ83he da% is dar' and the night3o him that would sear!h their heartR Oo li(s o+ !loud that will (art& Oor morning song in the light7nl%& ga>ing alone3o him wild shadows are shown&Dee( under dee( un'nownAnd height a"o,e un'nown height0Still we sa% as we go&; 1Strange to thin' "% the wa%&Bhate,er there is to 'now&3hat shall we 'now one da%0183his (assage o+ rh%me sang itsel+ out with a monotonous musi!al gentleness in his "rain&;he !losed his e%esrest+ull%&;and then;l%ing "a!' thus in his !hair "% the o(en window& with the moonlight !asting a widehalo round him and gi,ing a (ale s(iritual "eaut% to his deli!ate !lassi! +eatures&;he (assed awa% out o+ his "od%& as he would ha,e said& and was no more on earthR or rather as we should sa%& he +ell aslee( anddreamed0 And the 8dream8 or the 8e4(erien!e8 was thisR; :e +ound himsel+ wal'ing leisurel% u(on the slo(es o+ a maHesti! mountain& whi!h seemed not somu!h mountain as garden& +or all the winding (aths leading to its summit were +ringed with +lowers0 :eheard the sil,er% (lashing o+ "roo's and +ountains& and the rustling o+ thi!'l%-+oliaged trees&;he 'new the (la!e well& and reali>ed that he was in his 8star8 again&;the m%sti! S(here he !alled his 8home08 /ut he wase,identl% an e4ile or an alien in it&;he had grown to reali>e this +a!t and was sorr% it should "e so& %et hissorrow was mingled with ho(e& +or he +elt it would not alwa%s "e so0 :e wandered along aimlessl% andalone& +ull o+ a !uriousl% ,ague ha((iness and regret& and as he wal'ed he was (assed "% !rowds o+ "eauti+ul%ouths and maidens& who were all (ressing +orward eagerl% as to some high +esti,al or great assem"l%0 3he%sang "lithe songs&;the% s!attered +lowers&;the% tal'ed with ea!h other in ha((%-toned ,oi!es&;and hestood aside ga>ing at them wist+ull% while the% went on reHoi!ing08 land where li+e ne,er grows old and where lo,e is eternalJ8 he mused;8Bh% am 9 e4iled +rom th% glor%Bh% ha,e 9 lost th% Ho%8:e sighedR;he longed to 'now what had "rought together so "right a multitude o+ these lo,el% and Ho%ous "eings&;his own 8dear (eo(le8 as he +elt the% wereR and %et;%et he hesitated to as' one o+ them theleast question& +eeling himsel+ unworth%0 At last he saw a girl a((roa!hing&;she was singing to hersel+ andt%ing +lowers in a garland as she !ame&;her loose gold hair streamed "ehind her& e,er% glistening tressseeming to +lash light as she mo,ed0 As she drew near him she glan!ed at him 'indl% and (aused as thoughwaiting to "e addressed&;seeing this& he mustered u( his !ourage and s(o'e08Bhither are %ou all going8 he as'ed& with a sad gentleness;89 ma% not +ollow %ou& 9 'now&;"ut will %outell me wh%& in this 'ingdom o+ Ho%& so mu!h +resh Ho% seems added8She (ointed u(wards& and as his e%es o"e%ed her gesture& he saw in the o(al-!oloured s'% that "ent a"o,ethem& a da>>ling "la>e o+ gold and !rimson glor% towards the south0 =  8An Angel (assesJ8 she re(lied;8/elow that line o+ light the Earth swings round in its little or"it& and +romthe Earth She !omesJ Be go to wat!h her +light hea,enward& and win the "enedi!tion that her (assing (resen!e gi,es0 or loo' %ouJ;all that s(lendour in the s'% is not light& "ut wingsJ8  As it is +requentl% the !ase in Corelli1s no,els& this e4tra!t wea,es the narrati,e with (oeti!quotations and "i"li!al re+eren!es0 Bhat !ould "e the (ur(ose and e++i!ien!% o+ this shi+ting o+ realist no,el writing towards a s%m"olist re(resentation o+ inner s!eneries 9+ Corelli (ushes the no,el to the !on+ines o+ (oetr%& her use o+ (rera(haelite !odes !an "oth "e read as a +ruit+ul use o+ !learl% identi+ia"le topoï,  through whi!h the no,el writer (resents a stud%o+ (oeti! ins(iration0 I – Poetry and the borders of the narrativeMaking the “Unprovable” acceptable 3he +irst requirement in Corelli1s distortion o+ realist no,el writing is to ma'e the irrationalseem (lausi"le0 éra> is made ,isi"le to the reader& )at wor'* then )l%ing "a!' in his !hair* in a+amiliar surrounding enhan!ed with the aestheti! des!ri(tion o+ )the heliotro(e odours +loatingTaround him*0 /% delineating her !hara!ter1s +an!%& Corelli eradi!ates the dou"t "etween illusion andrealit% whi!h is at the !ore o+ the +antasti! no,el0 3he atmos(here de(i!ted is the o((osite o+ agloom% Unheimlich  surrounding& and though Corelli mentions )the wide s(lendour o+ the moonra%s (ouring through the window*& nothing eerie inter+eres with this soothing +amiliarit%& that thereader would !on+ront with the oddit% o+ Lilith1s room where El-?mi is underta'ing hise4(eriment0 3his soothing atmos(here ma'es the ine4(li!a"le elements a"out to o!!ur seem& i+ not (lausi"le& %et harmless0 3he sudden surging o+ Lilith1s name is (resented as a m%ster%& )how or wh%&he !ould not imagine*& %et& the reader is soon (ro,ided with the 'ind o+ (seudo-s!ienti+i!ale4(lanations Corelli +requentl% addresses 7 ):e !ould onl% a!!ount +or it in one wa%* introdu!es a!lue rel%ing on El-?mi1s mesmeri! in+luen!e – whi!h !an hardl% "e ta'en as a granted e,iden!e o+ rationalit%& and the logi!al o(erators& )namel%*& )there"%*& ma'e the narrator1s ,oi!e heard as itgi,es a reason to the une4(e!ted remem"ran!e o+ Lilith1s name and aims to sustain the reader1ssus(ension o+ dis"elie+0 3his ,oi!e o(erates as a medium ma'ing éra>1s inner s(ee!h and +eelings (er!e(ti"le to thereader& es(e!iall% as it em(hasi>es the sensorial e++e!ts o+ (oetr% on the %oung man0 ossetti1s linessounding )in his ears Hust now* ma'e the reader (arta'e in éra>1s inner (er!e(tion o+ )Eden/ower  $ * and in,ite to share his o(enness to (oetr%1s e++i!ien!%0 3his e4tra!t oughts to "e read as asu(er(osition o+ ,oi!es0 éra>1s s(ee!h leads the reader towards +an!% while the narrator 'ee(s there,erie intelligi"le through e4(ressions su!h as )as he would ha,e said* (ara(hrasing )(assed awa%  Marie Corelli& The Soul of Lilith & London& /entle% G Sons& 562& (0 $#-$$0 $ )Eden /ower*& in The Collected or!s of "ante #abriel $ossetti & Ellis and El,e%& London& 6#& ,ol0 & (0 =#50 I  out o+ his "od%*& whi!h is made e,en more o",ious and more (rosai! "% )as we should sa%& he +ellaslee( and dreamed*0 3his dida!ti!al dimension inside (o(ular no,el writing !an "e (er!ei,edthrough Corelli1s !are +or summari>ing the "i"li!al h%(ote4t o+ her no,el "% mentioning thesu(erstitions asso!iated with Lilith0 Corelli1s e++orts to ma'e the une4(laina"le (lausi"le and toremain +aith+ul to what has "een settled as a (a!t with the reader in the +oreword1s captatiobene%olentiae  are sustained through details as slight as the "ra!'ets around )dream*& )e4(erien!e*&)star*& )home* and )dear (eo(le*0 3he "ra!'ets delineate words o+ whi!h meaning is slightl%altered and widened to +it the uns(ea'a"le ongoing e4(erien!e& and a((eals to the reader1s o(en-mindedness towards the tres(assing o+ semanti! de+initions0 3he "ra!'ets a!tuall% isolate éra>& as a (oet a"le to use words in an altered meaning& +rom a )we* whi!h in!ludes the narrator and thereader0 3his "alan!e "etween +an!% and realit%& or rather this slight im"alan!e towards realismwithin +an!% and esoteri! allusions& is a 'e%stone to Corelli1s (o(ular no,els1 e++i!ien!%0 Enshrined poems Strange as éra>1s re,erie ma% seem& the reader is in,ited within it through (oetr%1s gatewa%03he !reation o+ a m%sterious and %et re!ogni>a"le uni,erse were the un'nown is "alan!ed with+amiliarit% also relies on quotations0 Corelli e4(li!itl% e,o'es ossetti and quotes the +irst stan>as o+ two o+ his (oems& )Eden /ower* and )3he Cloud Con+ines F *0 3he "atheti! introdu!tion )the ri!hand ,aried stores o+ one o+ his éra>1sT +a,ourite (oets* and the use o+ )(oes%* rather than )(oetr%*dis(la%s Corelli1s slight tenden!% to a++e!tation as well as her !onstant stri,e to lin'ing her no,elswith a more elitist !ultural +ield& and !an seem quite a hea,% introdu!tion to the (oem0 Corelli1s narrati,e ,oi!e o",iousl% delineates )Eden /ower* and introdu!es the reader intoéra>1s +eelings and +an!ies0 3he su"He!t o+ the lost Eden garden is (ro"a"l% one o+ the oldest topoï  &and Corelli& through quoting ossetti& also inherits a (alim(sest o+ Milton and the /i"le0 )Eden/ower*1s stru!ture and theme& whi!h sha(e Lilith1s su(ernatural "eaut% into +eminine rh%mes& issummoned as an authorit% whi!h legitimates Corelli1s own Lilith as an em"odiment o+ +eminine (ower0 ather than eroding the limits "etween the (oems and the narrati,e& Corelli !hoses tohighlight the lines quoted as an enshrined (oeti! o"He!t0 3he word )stro(hes* stresses the te!hni!alas(e!t o+ (oetr% writing& as does the re(etition o+ )rh%mes that*& %et the ana(hori! e++e!t o+ thisre(etition !ou(led with the meta(hor )+rom the ri!h and ,aried stores* ma'es the des!ri(tion o+ ossetti1s lines (oeti! in itsel+0 3he enshrined stan>as +rom )Eden /ower* stand as an authorit%assessing the themati! as(e!t o+ the no,el as well as a legitimation +or the l%ri!al tone within theno,el0 3he unit% o+ the no,el is in!reased "% the quotation& whi!h is +oreshadowed in the e(igra(h F )3he Cloud Con+ines* in The Collected or!s of "ante #abriel $ossetti & Ellis and El,e%& London& 6#& ,ol0 & (0 =F0 
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