Friday, June 5, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Assignation

This week's Poe Fridays short story is The Assignation. You can read it here.

In this story set in Venice, the narrator tells of a man he knows slightly, a man of some consequence, that he doesn't name. While traveling in a gondola one night, the narrator sees this man rescue the young child of a Marchesa from the canal. When the child has been returned to the woman, she whispers to the young man that she will submit and that they can be together an hour after sunrise. The man then hitches a ride home in the narrator's gondola. He asks him to return to the home early in the morning and our narrator witnesses the "reuniting" of the man and the Marchesa when a page from the Marchesa's home comes to announce her death by poisoning. This story is possibly (loosely) based on a Venetian affair had by Lord Byron.

This was a very sad love story. A young woman has married an older man out of convenience and thereby cannot unite with the love of her life except in death. This was a somewhat strange story as most of the narrative was taken up with a tour of the young man's gaudy home. I suppose they spoke of beauty and desire through the description of the art.

Next week's Poe Fridays reading will be the short story, Diddling. Based on the title, I'm hoping for something light-hearted.

Wondering if anyone writes happy stories about Venice,


  1. Ha, good point Kristen. And yet, why is that? People love Venice for its romance! Do we equate romance, in the end, with sadness?

    Though, isn't Miss Garnet's Angel by Sally Vickers ultimately positive? It's a while since I've read it I have to admit.

    PS Nice blog

  2. Sue -- I hadn't heard of the Vickers book but it looks interesting!
    Maybe there's just no market for a book that is just a happy romance. And maybe Venice just lends itself to the most tragic of romantic situations. Hmm ...