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15 January 2007 @ 03:50 pm
Note de l'éditeur  
Des raisons particulières et des considérations que nous nous ferons toujours un devoir de respecter nous forcent de nous arrêter ici.

Nous ne pouvons, dans ce moment, ni donner au Lecteur la suite des aventures de Mademoiselle de Volanges, ni lui faire connaître les sinistres événements qui ont comblé les malheurs ou achevé la punition de Madame de Merteuil.

Peut-être quelque jour nous sera-t-il permis de compléter cet ouvrage; mais nous ne pouvons prendre aucun engagement à ce sujet: et quand nous le pouvons, nous croirions encore devoir auparavant consulter le goût du Public, qui n'a pas les mêmes raisons que nous de s'intéresser à cette lecture.
Catherine17catherines on January 15th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
The End.

I was wondering if there was anything more to come, or if it had already finished in December.

How much do people think the book benefited from being read in this format? To me, the suspense was enhanced in the first half or so of the book by the fact that one could not read ahead, and was thus left wondering what was going on in the gaps between the letters. Having them appear with my other friends on livejournal also added a strange sensation of reality rather than fiction. And the constant conversation with other readers in the margins of the story definitely made the whole thing more interesting (verging on obsession in the early months of the story, in fact).

I did find, though, that as the letters got further apart in the later stages of the book, my interest lessened, perhaps because we were hearing from the characters less often so that they became a less important part of my reading life, or perhaps because it became increasingly difficult for me to feel sympathy for several of them, as they all seemed to move towards extremes of themselves in a way I found unappealing.

I'd be interested to read what others thought.

Catherine - signing off as the naive reader!
st_egfroth on January 16th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
I think the fact that fewer people have been commenting towards the end may partly answer your question.

I agree that it was a bit easy to lose interest when the letters were far apart (though it wasn't really until December that they stopped being at least every other day or so). I don't know how it would work as a first read of the novel -- I think the way the letters become more spread out (and doing it this way, the way that it wasn't entirely clear for a while whether we'd got to the end) made the end a bit of an anticlimax. (I was reading things in a somewhat random order as a moderator proofreading letters, which probably isn't the best way to get the most of out it!)
Catherine17catherines on January 16th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
They seemed to get less frequent from November, to me. And yes, I think anticlimax is a good description - things seemed to wind down rather than winding up, and I lost interest, even though I had passionately wanted to know what happened to these people only a few weeks earlier (oh, the shallowness of the first-time reader!).

Arthénice_niece on January 19th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
Dear Catherine et all,

I would like to thank all of you for what has been a very unusual and rewarding reading experience. I rather think our esteemed Moderator should think of publishing this commentary as a separate book - some dialogues (not that I would wish particularly to compliment myself) were brilliant, and all of it has been absorbingly interesting. Who could have thought that the novel, talented as it is, could produce such very lively reaction in otherwise stable-minded people (like myself)? I remember having several novel-related dreams in the course of the reading (all of them pretty horrid). What's more, I've been put to the trouble and expense of shipping Clarissa all the way from America, under your joint influence. I've read it almost to the middle by this time.

Shall we try reading de Sade next time, dear colleagues?

Yours ever,
Catherine17catherines on January 20th, 2007 11:01 am (UTC)
My dear Arthenice - much as I have enjoyed your commentary, and have delighted in our discussions of this text, there is no way known that I am reading de Sade, online or elsewhere! From the little I know of him, he is neither worksafe, nor someone whose thoughts I want to get any closer to than I have to. I also suspect that reading De Sade would be a reliable prescription for acquiring new and unpleasant nightmares, which is not something I require at present.

I will, however, be joining the Clarissa readthrough and discussion, if it goes forward. Perhaps I will see you there?

Most affectionately yours - and thanking you again for the excellent company you have provided on this literary journey -


Ishmaeli_shmael on January 22nd, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
de Sade is boring, for the most part, however marquizzical he is :-) Manon Lescaut?
Arthénice_niece on January 23rd, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
It was a joke about de Sade (do I really have to explain it?). He had no talent whatsoever.

Good old Abbe Prevost was an excellent writer - but for on-line reading his brilliant little novel is rather too uniform - it's actually a tale, with a single plot-line and not much to discuss. I'd prefer Mme de La Fayette, if you ask me.

Ishmaeli_shmael on January 23rd, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
Eugène Sue? Mlle de Scudéry?
Arthénice_niece on January 23rd, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
Don't you impose your B-grade stuff on me.
Ishmaeli_shmael on January 23rd, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
It is b-degradable!