In a Dark Wood Wandering

Hella S. Haasse, Author, Anita Miller, Translator, Lewis Kaplan, Translator Academy $30 (574p) ISBN 978-0-89733-336-8
Covering the life span of poet and courtier Charles d'Orleans (1394-1465), nephew to the mad French king Charles VI, this massive novel, first published in the Netherlands in 1949, is magisterial in its grasp of princely politics (e.g., the Armagnac-Burgundian factions), and military maneuvering in the era of the Hundred Years War between France and England. As a fictional narrative of private life and human emotion, however, it lacks the vital spark. Happier with books than in battle, shy Charles suffered childhood traumas: exile from court with his gentle mother, Valentine Visconti, because of the envy of Isabeau, the devious French Queen; and the assassination of his father Duke Louis. The ``dark wood'' of loneliness and confusion is taken from the opening of Dante's Commedia. The image recurs in Charles's poetry, written during his 25-year English captivity after Agincourt. In this period, Joan of Arc's triumphs and death are briefly recorded, and poets Christine de Pisan and Francois Villon also make brief appearances. 50,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB featured selections; author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-89733-356-6
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-61373-450-6
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