By Sybille Bedford
A Legacy is the story of 2 very diverse households, the Merzes and the Feldens. The Jewish Merzes are longstanding individuals of Berlin’s haute bourgeoisie who count number a pal of Goethe between their unique ancestors. no longer that this proud legacy capability a lot of whatever to them anymore. safe of their large city condominium, they commit themselves to little greater than having fun with their comforts and making sure their wealth. The Feldens are landed aristocracy, prosperous yet no longer wealthy, from Germany’s Catholic south. After Julius von Felden marries Melanie Merz the fortunes of the 2 households may be unusually, certainly fatally, entwined.
Set throughout the run-up to global battle I, a time of weirdly mingled complacency and angst, A Legacy is attractive, magnificently humorous, and profound, an unforgettable picture of a doomed lifestyle.
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Additional resources for A Legacy (New York Review Books Classics)
NA, p. 329) The statue or representation of desire that Zelmane embodies for Philoclea comes to life with the understanding that as a man and a prince Pyrocles can fulfill the longings consuming Philoclea. The impossible has become possible. The gender transformation of Zelmane produces a momentary gender re-alignment in Philoclea, but this immediately arouses the fear that as Pygmalion Philoclea has created a situation that her femininity should have prevented. So joy passes to fear that she has transgressed female virtue: ‘I fear me, my behaviour, ill governed, gave you the first comfort: I fear me, my affection, ill hid, hath given you this last assurance.
Metonymically, neither can Basilius govern himself, neglecting his duties on his Women of Great Wit 33 whimsical and wrong-headed interpretation of an oracle, against Philanax’s advice, thus endangering both country and family, and thoughtlessly giving in to his ill-conceived passion for a ‘woman’ who is actually a man. At a broad level Basilius represents the dangers of a political leader who fails to take advice from his counsellors – a situation familiar to Philip Sidney and many others like him.
They are the victims, at least physically, of another woman’s machinations. They are reduced, brought down, tricked and abused. Yet if we look at these two central female figures in New Arcadia we can see how they negotiate the minefields of male desire to pursue their own. If Gynecia’s predicament and its sympathetic treatment is unprecedented in English fiction then so too is the direct articulation of the predicament in which Philoclea finds herself in her growing attraction to the person she thinks is a woman.
A Legacy (New York Review Books Classics) by Sybille Bedford