The Use of Romantic Poetry in the Novel, THE PATRÒN’S WIFE by Mark Giglio

The Use of Romantic Poetry in the Novel, THE PATRÒN’S WIFE:

a guest post by Mark Giglio

When I was formulating my character Alma in the novel The Patròn’s Wife, I knew she needed to have a vulnerable psyche. She is a lover of poetry, a lover of the ideal of love. She is a dreamer, someone who would be susceptible to and also attracted to the other worldly. Alma has a Master’s Degree in Poetry from the Romantic Period.

During the Romantic Period the settings and locals were exotic. What better setting for this to happen for The Patròn’s Wife, than a remote plantation with no familiar society?

It seemed everything that defined the Romantic Period (1830-1870) lent itself to Alma’s character. A brief description of that era’s mind set: subjectivity and an emphasis on individualism; spontaneity; freedom from rules; solitary life rather than life in society; the beliefs that imagination is superior to reason and devotion to beauty; love of and worship of nature; love of the past, especially the myths and mysticism of the middle ages.

Let’s begin with the last part of the statement. Myths of the middle ages: Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, are the archetypical love triangle.   

We find our characters, Alma, Emilio and Hector make up this modern day homage to the love triangle.
Alma says at one point she wanted to have an ‘adventure’. She respects her dead cousin’s wishes to leave the United States and come to El Paradiso, the plantation of her soon to be widowed husband. Her choice to go lends itself to the Romantic philosophy of individualism, spontaneity and a certain freedom from rules.
As for the love and sacredness of nature, this one scene describes the moment Alma discovers and falls under the spell of her awesome surroundings. 

“Something happened to me that day out on the plateau. The darkening sky, the silver clouds, the roll of thunder, the birds that darted about looking for cover, the way the lightning lit up the sky, even the way the grass hissed and rippled before the wind, all of nature was in a truly glorious concert of color and sound and smell and sensation and I became one with it. I’d never felt that way before about anything or anyone.”

Settings used in Romantic poetry were unusual and exotic. The setting of the Ecuadorian highlands and the jungle below is inherently thrilling and mysterious. 

The Waorani, the tribe which Alma is in contact with through their man servant Leòn, who also happens to be a shaman, practice the Ayahuesca ritual. Through the use of certain parts of the Ayahuesca plant one can enter an altered state and be in greater touch with oneself and the natural world. Alma partakes. Some Romantic Period poets used drugs (mostly opium) to enter an altered state they believed enhanced their creativity and self-awareness.

The Romantic Period is a treasure trove of poetry on many different aspects of the human condition and other subjects. I came across Leconte de Lisle’s poem, ‘The Jaguar’s Dream’, after the fact. What a beautiful and powerful poem. The poem was like a gift from my muse. I had never heard of him before I wrote the novel, and it was fun to use his poem in a jungle scene and little snippets in the prose. I also incorporated an excerpt from Browning’s Sonnets From the Portuguese, an excerpt from Holley’s ‘The Song of the Siren’, and to cap off the novel, Dickinson’s ‘Escape’.

The cover art is from Roseau, another artist from that era. 

After writing the novel, I have a great respect for those poets, painters, sculptors and writers who contributed to the Romantic Period. I know my novel would not be the same without them.  

Fascinating article!


A pleasure to have you on Writing in the Modern Age, Mark!



Guest Blogger Bio

Mark Giglio is a writer, artist and award-winning furniture maker with a degree in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. He lives in Escondido, CA in San Diego County.  He has written novels in Historical Romance (Alchemist Gift), and a Supernatural Romantic Thriller (The Patròn’s Wife). The second volume of Alchemist Gift, Curious Journey, with the main character of Count Emilio, is in the works. His short stories are in the Horror and Science Fiction genres. See more of his work at


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