February 14 is Valentine’s Day and depending on where you live you will buy or receive Valentine’s chocolates, cards, flowers… We also let our romantic side show this month with 10 gems from our catalogue.
Let’s start with twelve French Medieaval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France. Written in the 12th century, the stories idealize the then popular concept of courtly love, complete with noble ladies and fearless knights on white steeds.
Knight Huldbrand is stranded by a flood at a fisherman’s hut and falls in love with and marries Undine. When the waters recede, the newlyweds move to town, where old loves wait for him. But Undine is a water spirit, and they take their vows very seriously… We also have an English translation of this classic by German author Friedrich de la MotteFouqué.
Even more complicated is the romance by Abbé Prévost: The chevalier de Griaux elopes with Manon Lescaut, and they live in sin until he loses all his money and Manon leaves him for somebody who can support her lifestyle. Griaux follows Manon all the way to the US – but will he finally be able to marry her?
When hearing complicated stories like that, the best advice is probably: Don’t Marry! or at least, be very picky as to the partner with whom to tie the knot until death. In this book, author James W. Donovan shares insights on how to choose a matching spouse.
James and Alida don’t need that kind of advice, as they are entering into their marriage strictly as business partners: He because he needs help on his farm, and she because she wants security. Everything goes well in the book by Edward P. Roe – until He Fell in Love With His Wife…
Who knows all the details of how this turned out, maybe he is even writing love poems like George Parsons Lathrop did. The collection Rose and Roof Tree is dedicated to his wife, of whom he says “…every line here shall in some sense breathe of thee, and in its very face bear record of her whom, however unworthily, it seeks to serve and honor.”
Instead of poetry, Hester Lynch Piozzi – a well known British author – wrote Love Letters – and that at the age of 80! Twice widowed and mother of twelve children, she fell in love with English actor William Augustus Conway, 48 years her junior, to whom these letters are addressed.
She certainly did not need any instructions in The Art of Kissing. And probably neither do you, but William Rossiter’s manual also covers other interesting aspects, like the origin of kissing, the different kinds of kisses, or how people kiss in different countries.
People in Finland probably kiss in the ordinary way. For couples to meet at work is not unusual either, so the parents of Samu invite Hetvi to the communal haymaking on their farm and hope for the best. However, things don’t quite turn out as planned in the Finnish novel Salmelan heinätalkoot by Olli Wuorinen.
Already loved is Cornelia, The Maid of Maiden Lane; unfortunately she has one suitor too many… Facing opposition from parents and friends, her choice will not be easy, and she should certainly not have made that blunder either. Find out what she will do in our dramatic reading of the story by Amelia E. Barr.
Enjoy – and have a nice Valentine’s Day!