This Art Deco curiosity was published in 1925 and as an exercise in stylized hysteria reflecting interior Armageddons...

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PAULINA 1880

This Art Deco curiosity was published in 1925 and as an exercise in stylized hysteria reflecting interior Armageddons (within the soul of Paulina) it has a certain hypnotic ear-buzzing appeal. That is, if one can press beyond Paulina's girlhood -- tremulous with religious excitation (""Paulina liked more than anything else the torments of the Saints"") kisses on the muzzle of the kid she carried around in the country, and idylls when she would ""gobble flowers by the mouthful."" But then at the tip-top of virginal adolescent perfection (""I am adored, adorable"") Paulina lures as a flame that substantial butterfly, the handsome, if married, Count Cantarini who comes creeping in the night. And Paulina bums behind the door she is about to open to him (""She was howling without sound""). Before long Sacred and Profane loves war within Paulina, instead of uniting at consummation's peak, and the suffering years lead to lacerating remorse without forgiveness, murder and finally a kind of penitential peace. The scene is 19th-century Italy, and the prose is fraught -- frightfully fraught: ""The red and blue [of the room] exchange terrible provocations."" This heavy-breathing tale of doomed lovers will be made into a movie with Maximilian Schell -- prepare to snuffle.

Pub Date: June 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1973