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Old 12-31-2012, 06:09 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Weyman, Stanley J: The Abbess of Vlaye v1 31 Dec 2012

Stanley John Weyman was born at Ludlow in Shropshire in 1855, the second son of a solicitor. He went to Shrewsbury School, then to Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 1877 with a degree in history. With this degree he was not able to make much of a living for himself and prospects were discouraging. He was called to the Bar in 1881 and practiced law for 'eight wretched years' never making more than two hundred pounds in any given year, and frequently angering judges with his nervous incompetence in court.

Novelist and Cornhill Magazine editor James Payn convinced him to undertake fiction. Weyman began publishing in 1883 with his short The Story of a Courtship for The English Illustrated Magazine. But not until his first novel The House of the Wolf, set in 16th Century France, was he catapulted to fame. From 1890 onwards he was the lion of a very special and elegant literary form. His best books, including From the Memoirs of a Minister of France (1893), A Gentleman of France (1893), Under the Red Robe (1894) and The Red Cockade (1895) are all but without parallel in excellence. He died in 1928.

The Abbess of Vlaye was first published by Longmans Green in 1904 in London and New York, and is set in the south of France in 1589. The wars of religion were over, but 'Everywhere, beyond the walls of the great cities, the law was paralysed, the great committed outrage, the poor suffered wrong... he knew what a welter of lawlessness and disorder, private feud and public poverty thirty years of civil war had left his kingdom.' Three romances, captures, and escapes are set against this background.

The de Joyeuse family are historical, though Weyman seems to rely more on Voltaire's acount than on that of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Dot (chapter 23) means dowry.
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