Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Amis and Amil

slave domnei's blog entry from yesterday is dedicated to Julius Zeyer and Artuš Scheiner. Let me add a couple of remarks from Czech perspective. Zeyer's whole life (1841-1901) was troubled by his homosexuality. It was socially unacceptable, unacceptable for him personally, it was his 'terrible secret'. No wonder all his work is nostalgic and depressive and usually very tragical. His 'Romance about the Faithful Friendship of Amis and Amile' from 1877 is probably his most open work.
Amis and Amil, both very brave and more then good looking knights, physically indistinguishable and also best friends. Amis is quite unhappy in his marriage - his very beautiful Wife is a witch, but Amis took and hid Her magical belt and without Her powers She is mean and evil and hates him. Amil is in love with a Princess but he must fight for Her. He is not very good with a sword so Amis agree to fight instead of him and they switch their roles. Amis of course wins the fight and also the Princess for Amil. Meanwhile his Wife found the magical belt. With Her powers back She turns Amis into old wretch and kicks him out of his (now Hers) palace. His friend Amil is happily married to Princess but he is also very sad because of the friend disappearance. They find each other after a couple of years and Amil is ready to do everything to help Amis. Literally. Amil gets an advice form St. Patrick to kill his two children and bath Amis in their blood. He does it without much thinking and it works - young Amis is back! Fortunately the statue of Maria returns life to both children and also destroys the cruel Wife-Witch. Amis is living happily with Amil and they die together...
The novel was and I believe still is the school recommended reading in Czech Republic... I am enclosing two other Scheiner's beautiful illustrations from the book...


  1. Thank you for this fascinating account of the Amis and Amil narrative. Most interesting. slave domnei.

  2. Thank you for bringing up the theme, the original medieval French romance of Amis et Amiles is missing some important motives ;)