Mercier. Edited by Jenni Loer.
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Alfred Mercier. Edited by Jenni Loer.
Although modern critics generally consider Mercier’s
epic novel L’Habitation Saint-Ybars to be the author’s
best work, his contemporaries believed that his most durable creation
was Lidia. This idyllic love story plunges the reader into
the sublime passion of Aurélien and Lidia dei Castrovillari,
perfect lovers torn apart by religious persecution. On one level
the novel appears to be little more than a reworking of well-trodden
themes of love. However, Lidia’s struggle against the abusive
priest Espieu shocked and horrified New Orleans Creoles of the period.
Unlike Hugo’s Frollo in Notre Dame de Paris, Mercier’s
Espieu is a creature of the here and now and offers an all too real
and uncomfortable portrait of a priest gone bad.