This will likely be the only time I do this, and, who knows, I may pull this entry down, but, just for a lark, I thought I'd post the first three entries from the Encyclopedia here, so that folks can see the sort of thing that will be in the book. These entries need a final shellac, but generally they're complete.
Abällino. Abällino was created by Heinrich Zschokke and appeared in Abällino der Große Bandit (Abällino the Great Bandit, 1794). The German Johannes Heinrich Daniel Zschokke (1771-1848) was a prolific and popular author, well thought of during his lifetime, who spent many years as a progressive diplomat and government official in Italy and Switzerland. Today he is best known for Abällino.
Abällino is about the Neapolitan Count Rosalvo, who has taken on himself the onerous task of ridding Venice of conspirators, thugs, and assassins. He does this using two assumed identities. One of them is Flodoardo, a handsome, virtuous man who labors unceasingly to improve Venice. The other identity is Abällino, a huge, monstrous and ugly outlaw. The members of Venice’s underworld are frightened of Abällino but don’t quite trust him, and so they give him the job of killing the Doge’s niece, the lovely Rosabella of Corfu, as a way to prove himself. But Abällino is in love with Rosabella and kisses her rather than kills her. She is repulsed by him, but when Rosalvo, as Flodoardo, presents himself to the Doge, Rosabella falls in love with him. Rosalvo asks for Rosabella’s hand, but the Doge will only grant permission if Rosalvo captures Abällino, who has been kidnaping the Doge’s friends and advisors and pretending to kill them, and delivers Abällino to the Doge within 24 hours. Count Rosalvo, being quite clever, manages this. He has the Doge and the Senate give a state banquet and lures all the criminals of Venice to the banquet. At the banquet, at midnight, Abällino appears and then reveals himself to be both Flodoardo and Rosalvo. He points out who the criminals are and brings in the Doge’s friends and advisors. Rosalvo is declared the savior of Venice and the Doge weds Rosalvo and Rosabella in high style.
Abällino was immediately popular when it debuted and made Zschokke famous. Abällino was, with Friedrich Schiller’s Der Rauber (see: Karl von Moor), one of the two works that helped create the räuberroman (see: Räuberroman) craze in Germany and England at the turn of the 19th century. Abällino was so popular that an 1801 French version for the stage by Guilbert de Pixerecourt entitled L’Homme a Trois Visages, our Le Proscrit de Venise was hugely successful. In 1805 Matthew Lewis, the author of The Monk (see: Ambrosio), wrote a loose adaptation of Abällino entitled Rugantino; or, The Bravo of Venice, and it became one of Lewis’ most popular works, both as a novel and a play. The name "Abällino" even became, for a short time, slang for "bandit," and in 1806 Zschokke published another play on the same theme, Giulio degli Obizzi; Oder, Abällino unter den Calabresen.
Abällino is clearly influenced by Schiller, and in all the important ways Abällino is a popularized version of Der Rauber, absent Karl von Moor’s moral folly and Schiller’s willingness to have his sinning hero meet a deserved fate. But Abällino outdid Der Rauber in one regard. Der Rauber was set in Germany, but Zschokke moved the setting of Abällino to Venice, and nearly every räuberroman written following Zschokke used a Mediterranean background.
Abällino has most of the typical attributes of the leads of the räuberromans. He's bold and daring, very clever, and a gentleman at the core. But he also has the typical Romantic (see: Romanticism) combination of breast-thumping self-pity and grand bravado: "Yet will I bear it! I will submit to my destiny! I will traverse every path, and go through every degree of human wretchedness; and whate'er may be my fate, I will be still myself, and whate'er may be my fate, I will still act greatly!" Although the Sturm und Drang movement (see: Karl von Moor, Romanticism) had spent itself by 1794, its concept of the "genius" figure whose brilliance and passions transcend confining traditional mores and customs lingered on in the protagonists of the räuberromans, and Abällino displays that tendency as well.
Abbadona. Abbadona was created by Friedrich Klopstock and appeared in Der Messias (The Messiah, 1748-1773). Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1803) was a German poet. A deeply religious patriot, he sought to restore the "ancient German spirit" through his work. He was influential on Goethe and on the Sturm und Drang movement, and his Odes influenced German song composition for decades afterwards, but he is chiefly remembered now for one work: The Messiah, which deserves the descriptive phrase "Miltonian epic."
The Messiah deals with the Passion Week, the seven days from Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to his Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Passion Week becomes a metaphor for the history of existence and early Christendom, so that the span of time of The Messiah stretches from Creation to the Last Judgment. As might be expected, Klopstock was heavily influenced by Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the central figures of The Messiah are God and Satan. Klopstock spends a great deal of time describing heaven and hell and the influence of angels and devils on the lives of men.
The Messiah took Klopstock 25 years to write and is lengthy, filling fifteen books. The modern reader is not likely to find The Messiah of much interest. Although the poem has moments of quite lyrical beauty, Klopstock was not Milton’s equal for sustained epic imagination, and too much of the poem focuses on matters irrelevant to the main storylines. Klopstock also strains for affect, but the repetitive hosannas to the glory of God will not evoke religious fervor in modern readers, who are likely to find them tiresome. Finally, for all its length The Messiah is notably short on action, containing far more descriptions than actual events. The focus of the poem is on the Passion and the Resurrection, and so Klopstock does not include the action sequences which enliven Paradise Lost.
However, The Messiah does have one character of interest: Abbadona. Abbadona is an angel who is unwillingly drawn into Lucifer's rebellion. Once the revolt has failed, and Satan and all of his followers have been cast into Hell, Abbadona does not gnash his teeth and curse the Divine Name, as the other fallen angels do, but instead sits apart "in gloomy solitude" and bewails his fall:
...now mournfully he sits
Engross'd in thought, and muses o'er the scene
Of youth and innocence, the morning fair
Of his creation, when to life and light
Abdiel and he, at God's first call, had sprung
Together forth. In ecstasy exclaim'd
Each to the other, "Who are we? Oh say
"How long has thou been here?" In dazzling beams
Then shone the distant glory of the Lord
With rays of blessing on them; round they look'd
And saw innumerable multitudes
Of bright immortals near; and soon aloft,
Uprais'd by silvery clouds, were they convey'd
To the Almighty Presence. They beheld
And worshipp'd their Creator. Memory now
Thus tortured Abbadona. Bitter tears
Roll'd down his cheek...
...with horror Satan's purpose had he heard,
And now essay'd to speak; but struggling sighs
Thrice chok'd his utt'rance.
Abbadona eventually manages to speak and reproaches Lucifer for his blasphemy and pride. Abbadona discovers that Lucifer plans to kill Jesus, and he attempts to go to Heaven and warn God. But Abbadona is unable to deliver the message because of the angels set to guard over Lucifer and the other fallen angels:
...with ling'ring step
He reached the dismal gates where watchful sat
The two bright angels. Oh, how he felt then,
When Abdiel, the invincible, he saw!
Abash'd he bent his visage. To go back
Was his first impulse; then t'advance; then far
Across th'irremeable void to speed
His mournful, lonely, flight. Trembling he stood
In melancholy silence, till at once,
Must'ring fresh courage, he advanc'd. His heart
Throbb'd in loud beat, tears such as angels weep
Roll'd silent down his cheek; deeply he sigh'd
While anguish such as mortal heart ne'er feels,
Shook his perturbed frame as slow he passed.
In the prelapsarian days Abdiel was Abbadona's "special and chosen friend," but after the Fall and throughout The Messiah the other angels do not acknowledge Abbadona, and Abdiel looks on him "in tones/Soften'd by sadness, yet austere and grave."
During the Crucifixion Abbadona lingers around the cross, feeling a constant woe over his fallen state: "then immortality/Became a curse; one life one endless death!" Abbadona, filled with fear, repentance, and even hope, finally summons up the courage to address Jesus:
'Tis true Hell hates thee; but, lo, one remains
One lonely one, who hates his Maker not!
One, who unseen has long pour'd forth in vain,
Alas, too long, woe's burning, bitt'rest tears!
Satiate of being, weary to behold
A sad eternity!
At the end of The Messiah, when Jesus ascends to Heaven, Abbadona begs God for destruction, being tired of his life. Angels of death circle around him, their flaming swords ready to kill him, but to the relief of both Abbadona and the reader, who by this time feels sympathy for Abbadona, God spares him:
At last, an echo, as of Jubilee
A voice, as from the Father to the Son,
Descended from the throne. 'Come!' it pronounc'd
'Come, Abbadona, to thy pardoning God!"
And so Abbadona is reunited with Abdiel, rushing into his arms and then throwing himself in front of God and praying for forgiveness.
Catholic doctrine and Christian tradition state that the fallen angels can never repent and are now capable of only evil. But Klopstock and The Messiah are products of the Enlightenment, and so Klopstock’s approach is one tempered by tolerance and reason. Klopstock does what Milton never could do, and portrays a truly repentant angel who is ultimately forgiven by God. Although The Messiah cannot be said to have a protagonist, and Abbadona (Klopstock’s creation, rather than a traditional figure of Christian myth) is only a secondary figure in the story, he is far more alive to the reader than Jesus, Lucifer, or any of the poem’s other characters.
Abbadona is an intriguing mix of nobility and abject self-loathing. Klopstock does a good job of emphasizing Abbadona’s angelic nature and his fallen state. If anything, Klopstock overdoes the self-pity, but there are enough moments of Abbadona’s longing for redemption to redeem The Messiah and make the reader root for a happy ending for Abbadona. Abbadona has a "branded brow," and a "pallid face...marr'd/By death eternal," "bright locks" of "glossy curls," "wings of gold," and a "rosy light...Glow'd on his shining cheek." But he is not handsome: "the thin disguise, the cold and ghastly smile/The glaring radiance, (not like beams of bliss.)/The woe of ages, the consuming pangs,/The wretched Abbadona!"
Abdallah. Abdallah was created by Ludwig Tieck and appeared in Abdallah oder das Furchtbare Opfer (Abdallah or the Horrible Sacrifice, 1795). Tieck (1773-1853) was one of the foremost early German Romantic (see: Romanticism) writers. He is best known today for his kunstmärchen (see: Kunstmärchen). Tieck was also the creator of Eckbert, The Woodwoman and Zerina. Abdallah, though not regarded by critics as one of Tieck’s better works, is nonetheless fairly interesting.
Abdallah is set in a generic Arabian kingdom ruled by the cruel tyrant Sultan Ali. Ali’s arch-enemy is Selim, a good, brave, and just man who lives in isolation in his tower with his son Abdallah and Omar, Abdallah’s tutor. Abdallah trusts Omar and values him as a friend, but Omar is not a good man. His thirst for knowledge had been so great that he went in search of Mondal, an enormous, misanthropic "fallen angel" who no mortal had ever seen. Mondal, the "monster of destruction," was supposed to know the secrets of the universe, which Omar desired. When Omar finally found Mondal he swore allegiance to Mondal as a way to gain power. Mondal then sent Omar back into the world of men to bring destruction and misery to humanity. But Omar took pity on the impoverished Selim, whose wealth had been unjustly confiscated by Sultan Ali, and revealed to him where some buried treasure might be found. For this act Mondal punished Omar by trapping him in the crack of a mountain and exposing him to endless torments. Omar’s only chance of release, according to Mondal, is to cause a son to bring about the death of his father. Omar chooses to use Abdallah and Selim in this way. Selim has vowed to curse Abdallah if he does not marry the daughter of Selim’s close friend Abubeker, but Abdallah loves Zulma, the daughter of Sultan Ali. So Omar plays on Abdallah’s anger and regret at being forced to chose between obeying his father and following his heart. Omar preaches a decadent philosophy to Abdallah, one which equates vice and virtue and which privileges pleasure as the highest goal in life. Once Abdallah is convinced, Omar follows up by telling Abdallah that he has the right to enjoy Zulma’s favors regardless of what Selim says. Omar then tells Abdallah about Omar’s alliance with undefined supernatural beings and sends Abdallah into a cavern, populated by ghosts and owl demons, where Abdallah sees his future, including a vision of his father’s mutilated body.
This convinces Abdallah that Selim’s death is inevitable and irreversible and that his death is the only way that Abdallah can be happy with Zulma. At this point Abdallah receives a scroll from Nadir, a man who in the past had belonged to a secret society of which Omar was also a member. The scroll reveals to Abdallah Omar’s true master, Mondal, and foretells the evils awaiting Abdallah if he follows Omar’s advice. Abdallah isn’t sure if the scroll is a fake or not, but when Nadir promises him a way to make both he and his father happy, Abdallah agrees to obey him. Abdallah follows Nadir’s orders and goes back to the cavern of demons. Abdallah attempts to prove to himself that they, and consequently his previous vision of his future, were just a hallucination, but the ghosts circle him, chanting "Vatermörder!" ("Father Murderer!"). This is too much for Abdallah, whose will falters, placing himself in jeopardy. Now desperate, Abdallah uses a magic ring which Omar had given him and calls on Omar, who rescues him. The next morning Abdallah allows himself to be convinced by Omar that it was all just a bad dream.
Selim is a part of a conspiracy to overthrow Sultan Ali, but Omar betrays the conspiracy to the Sultan so that when Selim’s forces attack Ali’s palace, the Sultan’s men are waiting for them. In the resulting battle Selim is badly wounded and barely escapes, but he is unaware of Omar’s involvement and chalks it up to the wrath of fate. Ali, furious with Selim, offers Zulma’s hand in marriage to the man who captures Selim alive. Abdallah is forced to make a choice: Zulma, or Selim. Thanks in large part to Omar’s philosophical arguments, Abdallah chooses Zulma. Abdallah finds out that the Sultan’s gardener, who also loves Zulma, has discovered Selim’s whereabouts and intends to inform Ali and claim Zulma himself. Abdallah murders Raschid and then betrays Selim to Ali, who is quite pleased that his enemy’s son has betrayed his father. Selim is sentenced to death and Ali orders the wedding of Zulma and Abdallah, but Zulma, on finding out what Abdallah has done, is now repulsed by him, his own parricide having destroyed her love for him. At the wedding dinner things become unreal and quite strange, with the guests changed into "machines" and Abdallah himself tormented by ghosts and corpses. Abdallah appeals to Omar for help, but Omar tells him to ask God for help. Abdallah, in agony, is thinking about suicide when the corpse of Selim appears. The next morning the body of Abdallah is found with horribly "distorted" features.
The resemblance of Abdallah to other Orientalist/Arabesque Gothics (see: Gothics), most notably William Beckford’s Vathek (see: Vathek), is not coincidental. Tieck was fascinated with the Arabian Nights and with the early English Gothics, especially Vathek. When he wrote Abdallah Tieck was also a young man–-Abdallah is generally considered among Tieck’s juvenilia–-obsessed with his own alienation from society, his suicidal feelings, and general nihilism, and so Abdallah is in many ways Tieck’s Me character, and Abdallah something Tieck wrote to distance himself from his own emotional darkness. But even a callow Tieck was a talented writer, and so Abdallah became more than just an immature angst-fest. Abdallah follows the Arabesque Gothic model of Vathek but adds more fantastic and occult elements and includes, in the wedding dinner scene, a hallucinogenic ending the equal of Vathek’s but more horrible. Tieck further added the theme of the inevitability of Fate, something which was not present in most Gothics. Once Abdallah has given in to temptation, there is no hope for him, but almost from the beginning he (and the reader) are convinced that his betrayal of his father, and consequently his own damnation, are inevitable. Most other Gothics which dealt with the damnation of the protagonist, particularly M.G. Lewis’ The Monk (see: Ambrosio) and Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya: or, The Moor (see: Victoria de Loredani) emphasized the free will of the protagonists, so that their fall was their own doing. It was not until Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (see: John Melmoth) that a Gothic would so prominently feature a protagonist the readers knew to be doomed. Finally, Tieck, in a show of self-contempt, made Abdallah quite weak. This is a departure not just from other Arabesque Gothics but also from the other genre of novels influential on Tieck: the Sturm und Drang tradition. (see: Karl von Moor, Romanticism). The prototypical protagonist of the Sturm und Drang novel was Werther, from Geothe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774). Werther is many things: very intelligent, too sensitive and highly strung for the world, and destructively pre-occupied. But neither he nor the other Sturm und Drang protagonists are weak, certainly not in the way that Abdallah is.
Abdallah begins as gullible and innocent, but under the sway of the older, evil Omar he is slowly drawn from a pure, childlike faith into evil, finally giving way to temptation and committing murder and then parricide. Before he is victimized by Omar’s arguments Abdallah is friendless and quite lonely, bemoaning his lack of a confidant. When he does find that someone, Zulma, she rejects him on discovering his true nature.