November 05, 2009

La Fermosa

Lion Feuchtwanger: Raquel:The Jewess of Toledo (1955)

The story of La Fermosa (Dona Raquel) is a famous Spanish story from the end of the 12. centrury. She was the paramour of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Toledo for almost seven years. Her life with the king and her dead is adopted in several literary works, like in the chronicle of Alfons X, or in a play of Franz Grillparzer and of course, in the historical novel of Lion Feuchtwanger.
In his novel Feuchtwanger deals with the circumstances of the murder. Raquels father, a successful and envied Jewish merchant is the financial adviser of the king. He is a confident, straight, sometimes stubborn man, and typically NOT an everybody’s darling. But Catille and Toledo are still the lands of tolerance in this time, Jews, Christians, and Muslims live together, or try to live together. Althought the king is an undecided man, he seems to be very easy influenced, and he is quick-tempered someone. He likes to follow the knightly virtues (his mother-in-law is Eleanor of Aquitaine), and of course he wans to be a great Christian king. But after the Disaster of Alarcos(1188) people gets angry and the Jews are blamed for the loss of the battle, and a little group of kinght who are sent to protect Raquel and her father kill them in cold blood.
As I said, I think, this stories is more about the circumstances. The relationship between Raquel and the king is really schematic. As a female reader from the 21.centruy I would have enjoyed the story more from the point of view of Raquel.

More reviews by me for
The German Reading Challenge...
Fall into Reading 2009 Challenge
The Decades Challenge 09...

3 megjegyzés:

Fiona Robyn said...

Hello – I’m an author and a fellow member of the Bookblogs site, and I wanted to invite you (and your readers) to join in my Blogsplash – there’s more information at Thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi, Anita-

This book looks intriguing. Too bad it's no currently in print ($125 through US Amazon website).

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