Clarimonde by Théophile Gautier
is a short story written by Théophile Gautier in 1836, and it tells the story of a young priest named Romuald and his love for a mysterious woman named Clarimonde. The story is set in 17th century Venice, and it combines elements of romance, horror, and fantasy.
The story begins with Romuald, a young and devout priest, who lives in a monastery in Venice. He is known for his piety and devotion to God, but he begins to feel a strange pull towards the secular world. He feels a deep sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction with his life in the monastery. One day, he goes to a party, where he meets a beautiful woman named Clarimonde. He is immediately captivated by her beauty and charm, and they begin to talk. Clarimonde tells Romuald that she has been watching him for a long time, and she is drawn to his purity and innocence. She invites him to visit her at her palace, and Romuald, unable to resist her charm, agrees.
Romuald visits Clarimonde’s palace, and he is amazed by its beauty and splendor. Clarimonde tells him that she loves him, and she asks him to renounce his vows as a priest and become her lover. Romuald is torn between his love for Clarimonde and his commitment to God. He goes to his mentor, Father Serapion, for advice. Father Serapion warns Romuald that Clarimonde is a creature of darkness and that she is leading him down a path of sin and damnation. But Romuald is unable to resist Clarimonde’s charm, and he decides to abandon his religious vows and become her lover.
Romuald and Clarimonde live together in perfect happiness for a while, but Romuald soon realizes that there is something strange about Clarimonde. She never goes out during the day, and she seems to be weakened by the light. Romuald begins to suspect that Clarimonde may be a vampire, but he is unable to resist her charm and beauty. One night, while they are lying in bed, Clarimonde dies in his arms. Romuald is devastated, and he realizes that he has been living in a dream. He leaves the palace and returns to the monastery, where he spends the rest of his days as a penitent.
The story of “Clarimonde” is a classic example of Gothic literature. It combines elements of romance, horror, and fantasy to create a dark and mysterious tale of love and death. Théophile Gautier’s writing is evocative and sensual, and he creates a vivid and atmospheric portrait of 17th century Venice. The character of Clarimonde is particularly fascinating. She is a complex and enigmatic figure, at once seductive and dangerous. She represents a force of darkness that threatens to consume Romuald’s soul.
The story of “Clarimonde” has been adapted into numerous films and plays over the years, and it continues to be a popular and influential work of literature. It has been praised for its lush and imaginative writing, its vivid characters, and its evocative portrayal of Gothic themes. Théophile Gautier’s work has been admired for its poetic and lyrical style, and his influence can be seen in the works of later writers such as Baudelaire and Poe.
In conclusion, “Clarimonde” is a haunting and beautiful tale of love and death. It is a classic example of Gothic literature, and it combines elements of romance, horror, and fantasy to create a dark and mysterious world. Théophile Gautier’s writing is evocative and sensual, and he creates a