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26 July 2014 @ 05:17 pm
M.R James - Count Magnus  
So, M.R James wrote a horror story about a Swedish count. Of course I had to read it. inyadreems mentioned it could a bit ...let's say not accurate. So far James has introduced the actual Count Magnus de la Gardie. de la Gardie held positions as riksdrots, riksmarskalk, rikskansler....Drots means 'ruler' or one of the five high official posts in Sweden back in the day-he was next to the king really, riksmarsalk -Marshal of the Realm and Chancellor. He was - in other words- no lightweight. Oh! He was also a poet. He did not- as far as I know though- live at Råbäck estate. Råbäck does exist though, looks like a lovely place to visit.

I like M.R James, no discussion. But of course there has to be one wrong in between all the rights- he's too short worded. Most of the texts I've read could very well have had another 1 K words. More detail. More descriptions. As [dreamwidth.org profile] 45rpm once said- use your crayons, more colour!

Aside from that: the thing he did with poor Count Magnus! It's a very short story but James manages to describe a man's journey towards insanity very well. One can feel the want of Mr. Wraxall when he visits the church and the mausoleum, the need to dig further.
It's curious why he chose de la Gardie as his 'monster'. He was one the most powerful persons in his time. Next question is why James chose Råbäck, de la Gardie spent a lot of time abroad holding up various for the queen. The queen, my absolute favourite Swedish royalty, Kristina, liked ol' Magnus. She gave him goods, land, titles... He lost all because of a slander campaign in 1653 and was banished from the royal court. He died poor. Word is that he could not for the life of him hold onto money.

Back to the story! (Sidetracked again) James should have written out a bit more,methinks. He's hinting at horrors and various but the hints fall flat because they are too thin. I may be picky, this was written over a hundred years ago, but still...I do however like how James describes Wraxall's mental state.

All in all I'm happy with it, in spite of the historical horrors errors. Should I feel pain over it, I will think of the unspeakable things Marvel has done to Nordic mythology.
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