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For the 2001 film, see Captain Corelli's Mandolin (film).
Corelli's Mandolin  
Author Louis de Bernières
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Historical, Romance, War novel
Publication date 1993
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Corelli's Mandolin, alternatively called Captain Corelli's Mandolin, is a 1993 novel written by Louis de Bernières which takes place on the island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia) during the Italian and German occupation of World War II. The main characters are Antonio Corelli, an Italian captain, and Pelagia, the daughter of the local physician, Dr. Iannis. An important event in the novel is the massacre of Italian troops by the Germans in September 1943.

Contents

Synopsis

Major characters

  • Dr. Iannis - The island's unofficial, unlicensed doctor, who spends much of his time writing about the history of Cephallonia. He is respected by the community, although regarded as a bit odd, and is thanked for his medical services by means of food and drink.
  • Pelagia - Dr. Iannis's daughter who is not like the other women on the island (she is well educated and has a lot of respect from her father), who at first falls in love with Mandras, then later with Antonio.
  • Antonio Corelli - An Italian captain with a love for music and life. He detests the war, and gradually falls in love with Pelagia; but the war inevitably tears them apart again.
  • Mandras - A young, handsome fisherman who falls in love with Pelagia, only to destroy their relationship by going to fight in the war, and ultimately humiliating himself.
  • Carlo - A good-natured homosexual Italian soldier who falls in love with Francesco only to lose him to the war. He later falls in love with Corelli and sacrifices his life to save the Captain's.

Major themes

Corelli's Mandolin explores many varieties of love. We see the initial lust-based love between Pelagia and Mandras, which burns out as a result of the war, and the change it prompts in both of them. Corelli and Pelagia's slow-developing love is the central focus of the novel. Love is described by Dr. Iannis as "what is left when the passion has gone", and it certainly appears that this criterion is fulfilled by the love of Corelli and Pelagia. The paternal love of Iannis for Pelagia is also strong and is heavily compared and contrasted to that of Corelli.

The theme of homosexuality is also a recurring issue as Carlo deals with his inner feelings. The reason the character joins the Italian army is so that he might meet a man who he can love, and indeed he does; he falls in love with Francesco. Upon Francesco's death Carlo is almost driven to suicide until he meets Corelli and falls in love once more. Carlo seems ill at ease with his sexuality and only confesses his love to Francesco as he (Francesco) is dying from a fatal wound, and to Corelli once he himself is dead.

The theme of music is predominant, offering a direct contrast to the horror and destruction that the war brings, showing how something beautiful can arise from something horrible.

The war is described in graphic detail, particularly the death of Francesco. It is responsible for the fall of Mandras and Weber, the deaths of Carlo and Francesco, and the separation of Pelagia and Corelli.

Throughout the novel, de Bernières takes a harsh view of all forms of totalitarianism, condemning Fascism, Nazism, and Communism alike. De Bernières described this as a novel about "what happens to the little people when megalomaniacs get busy."

Another theme of the novel is the study of history. Dr. Iannis spends much of his spare time attempting to write a history of Cephallonia, but often finds his personal feelings and biases running through whatever he writes. There is also a strong feeling against 'professional' history which is suggested by Carlo Guercio's statement that "I know that if we [the axis] win then there will be stories about mass graves in London and vice versa". This is reinforced by De Bernières' quotation that: "history ought to be made up of the stories of ordinary people only." From this viewpoint it can be seen that de Bernières as very much a revisionist historian, considering social history superior to that of political.

De Berni√®res takes an ambiguous attitude toward heroism and villainy in the novel: many of the characters, despite committing atrocities, are viewed as human victims of bad circumstances. For example, the character G√ľnter Weber carries a great degree of sympathy from the writer, even though he fully engages with the Nazi ideology and is guilty of taking part in the killing of an entire Italian regiment. Despite having become friends with many of the men, he must follow orders. Similarly, Mandras is guilty of murder, torture and rape, yet the author portrays him sympathetically: "just another life tarnished... by war."

Criticism

Some criticism has been aimed at the general letdown or even the depressing tone at the ending of the novel, with Pelagia realising she has wasted her life, and now, in her sixties, can do nothing more with what is left of her life. However, there has also been support for this ending as it is unusual for such a romantic novel to end so bluntly nor without a cliched resolution, portraying a closer to real life situation.

Referenced

Near the end of the novel (Chapter 62), Pelagia receives a photograph from G√ľnter Weber with a German passage from Goethe's "Faust" (also a very popular German Lied, set to music by Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrad) written on the back. It reads:

Meine Ruh ist hin,
Mein Herz ist schwer,
Ich finde sie nimmer
und nimmermehr.

Which translates as:

My peace is gone,
My heart is heavy,
I will find it never
and never more.

Awards

1995 - Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book

2004 - 19th place on The Big Read

Adaptations

Radio

The novel was adapted as four 45-minute radio plays from 17-20 September 2007 on BBC Radio 4, having been chosen as a popular 'Book of the Week' on the same station some years earlier. The episode titles were "A Pea in the Ear," "Invasion of the Italians," "Looking for Snails" and "Earthquake." It was narrated by Tom Goodman-Hill, with Celia Meiras as Pelagia, Stephen Greif as Dr Iannis, Daniel Philpott as Corelli. The mandolin music for it was composed and performed by Alison Stephens, and the production was produced and directed by David Hunter. Other cast members included:

  • Carlo - Anthony Psaila
  • Mandras - Chris Pavlo
  • Velisarios - Alexi Kaye Campbell
  • Father Arsenios - Alex Zorbas
  • Lemoni - Ania Gordon
  • Drosoula - Anna Savva
  • Hector - Nitin Ganatra
  • Officer - Simon Treves

Film

A movie version of Corelli's Mandolin, titled Captain Corelli's Mandolin, was released in 2001, with Nicolas Cage as the Italian Captain Corelli, John Hurt as Dr. Iannis, and Penélope Cruz as his daughter, Pelagia. It also starred Christian Bale and Irene Papas. It was directed by John Madden. It was received poorly by critics and the general public.

External links

References


For the 2001 film, see Captain Corelli's Mandolin (film).
Corelli's Mandolin  
File:Captain Corelli's Mandolin 1994 book
1st Edition front cover
Author Louis de Bernières
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Historical, Romance, War novel
Publication date 1993
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Corelli's Mandolin, alternatively called Captain Corelli's Mandolin, is a 1993 novel written by Louis de Bernières which takes place on the island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia) during the Italian and German occupation of World War II. The main characters are Antonio Corelli, an Italian captain, and Pelagia, the daughter of the local physician, Dr. Iannis. An important event in the novel is the massacre of Italian troops by the Germans in September 1943.

Contents

Synopsis

Major characters

  • Dr. Iannis - The island's unofficial, unlicensed doctor, who spends much of his time writing about the history of Cephallonia. He is respected by the community, although regarded as a bit odd, and is thanked for his medical services by means of food and drink.
  • Pelagia - Dr. Iannis's daughter who is not like the other women on the island (she is well educated and has a lot of respect from her father), who at first falls in love with Mandras, then later with Antonio.
  • Antonio Corelli - An Italian captain with a love for music and life. He detests the war, and gradually falls in love with Pelagia; but the war inevitably tears them apart again.
  • Mandras - A young, handsome fisherman who falls in love with Pelagia, only to destroy their relationship by going to fight in the war, and ultimately humiliating himself.
  • Carlo Piero Guercio - A good-natured homosexual Italian soldier who falls in love with Francesco only to lose him to the war. He later falls in love with Corelli and sacrifices his life to save the Captain's.

Major themes

Corelli's Mandolin explores many varieties of love. We see the initial lust-based love between Pelagia and Mandras, which burns out as a result of the war, and the change it prompts in both of them. Corelli and Pelagia's slow-developing love is the central focus of the novel. Love is described by Dr. Iannis as "what is left when the passion has gone", and it certainly appears that this criterion is fulfilled by the love of Corelli and Pelagia. The paternal love of Iannis for Pelagia is also strong and is heavily compared and contrasted to that of Corelli.

The theme of homosexuality is also a recurring issue as Carlo deals with his inner feelings. The reason the character joins the Italian army is so that he might meet a man who he can love, and indeed he does; he falls in love with Francesco. Upon Francesco's death Carlo is almost driven to suicide until he meets Corelli and falls in love once more. Carlo seems ill at ease with his sexuality and only confesses his love to Francesco as he (Francesco) is dying from a fatal wound, and to Corelli once he himself is dead.

The theme of music is predominant, offering a direct contrast to the horror and destruction that the war brings, showing how something beautiful can arise from something horrible.

The war is described in graphic detail, particularly the death of Francesco. It is responsible for the fall of Mandras and Weber, the deaths of Carlo and Francesco, and the separation of Pelagia and Corelli.

Throughout the novel, de Bernières takes a harsh view of all forms of totalitarianism, condemning Fascism, Nazism, and Communism alike. De Bernières described this as a novel about "what happens to the little people when megalomaniacs get busy."

Another theme of the novel is the study of history. Dr. Iannis spends much of his spare time attempting to write a history of Cephallonia, but often finds his personal feelings and biases running through whatever he writes. There is also a strong feeling against 'professional' history which is suggested by Carlo Guercio's statement that "I know that if we [the axis] win then there will be stories about mass graves in London and vice versa". This is reinforced by De Bernières' quotation that: "history ought to be made up of the stories of ordinary people only." From this viewpoint it can be seen that de Bernières as very much a revisionist historian, considering social history superior to that of political.

De Berni√®res takes an ambiguous attitude toward heroism and villainy in the novel: many of the characters, despite committing atrocities, are viewed as human victims of bad circumstances. For example, the character G√ľnter Weber carries a great degree of sympathy from the writer, even though he fully engages with the Nazi ideology and is guilty of taking part in the killing of an entire Italian regiment. Despite having become friends with many of the men, he must follow orders. Similarly, Mandras is guilty of murder, torture and rape, yet the author portrays him sympathetically: "just another life tarnished... by war."

References

Near the end of the novel (Chapter 62), Pelagia receives a photograph from G√ľnter Weber with a German passage from Goethe's "Faust" (also a very popular German Lied, set to music by Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrad) written on the back. It reads:

Meine Ruh ist hin,
Mein Herz ist schwer,
Ich finde sie nimmer
und nimmermehr.

Which translates as:

My peace is gone,
My heart is sore,
I will find it never
and nevermore.

Awards

1995 - Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book

2004 - 19th place on The Big Read

Adaptations

Radio

The novel was adapted as four 45-minute radio plays from 17‚Äď20 September 2007 on BBC Radio 4, having been chosen as a popular 'Book of the Week' on the same station some years earlier. The episode titles were "A Pea in the Ear," "Invasion of the Italians," "Looking for Snails" and "Earthquake." It was narrated by Tom Goodman-Hill, with Celia Meiras as Pelagia, Stephen Greif as Dr Iannis, Daniel Philpott as Corelli. The mandolin music for it was composed and performed by Alison Stephens, and the production was produced and directed by David Hunter. Other cast members included:

Film

A film version of Corelli's Mandolin, titled Captain Corelli's Mandolin, was released in 2001, with Nicolas Cage as the Italian Captain Corelli, John Hurt as Dr. Iannis, and Penélope Cruz as his daughter, Pelagia. It also starred Christian Bale and Irene Papas. It was directed by John Madden. It was received poorly by critics and the general public.

External links

References


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a 2001 film directed by John Madden and based on the novel of the same name by Louis de Bernières. It stars Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz.

Contents

Iannis

  • When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!
  • [writing to Corelli] Antonio, I do not know if this letter will reach you, or even if you are alive. Perhaps someone else sent your record, and that is why we found no note. I would like to say that Pelagia is happy, but she is full of tears she will not let fall, and of a grief no doctor can mend. She blames herself for the pain we have suffered, and perhaps the same is true for you. You know I am not a religious man, but I believe this: if there is a wound, we must try to heal it. If there is someone whose pain we can cure, we must search till we find them. If the gods have chosen that we should survive, it will be for a reason. [the great earthquake strikes]

Corelli

  • I have always found something in life worth singing about and for that I cannot apologize.
  • [upon first seeing Pelagia] Bella bambina at two o'clock!

Dialogue

Corelli:: Do you miss me?
Pelagia:: So much that I cant sleep at night.

Captain Weber:: Heil Hitler!
Corelli:: Heil Puccini!

Iannis:: What on earth you think you are doing?
Corelli:: I'm feeling the orchestra.

Pelagia:: I wrote to you every day. A hundred letters... and not a single reply.
Mandras:: [takes out her letters from his coat] I never learned... to read or write.

Pelagia:: Why did you save him? Why didn't you leave him to die?
Mandras:: I wanted you to love me again. [Pulls out 100 letters] Mandras: In Albania, I made them read every one of these to me... 'Mandras, I love you,' 'Mandras, I want you,' 'Mandras, when are you coming back?' And then one day, a different letter. 'I don't know how to describe my feelings. It's as if I have been waiting a hundred years to hear from you, waiting a hundred years for you to return. Once, my heart was overflowing with love for you, but now all I feel is emptiness. And I think it was all just a pretense, that I never loved you at all.'

Cast

Nicolas Cage - Captain Antonio Corelli
Penélope Cruz - Pelagia
John Hurt - Dr. Iannis
Christian Bale - Mandras
Irene Papas - Drosoula
Gerasimos Skiadaressis - Mr. Stamatis
Aspasia Kralli - Mrs. Stamatis








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