The Vicomte de Bragelonne

The Vicomte de Bragelonne

The Vicomte de Bragelonne

The Vicomte de Bragelonne

Synopsis

The Vicomte de Bragelonne opens an epic adventure which continues with Louise de La Valli`ere and reaches its climax in The Man in the Iron Mask. This new edition of the classic translation presents a key episode in the Musketeers saga, fully annotated and with an introduction by a leading Dumas scholar.

Excerpt

Alexandre dumas was 27 when he made his name in the theatre, where the young Turks of the Romantic movement prefaced the July Revolution of 1830 by staging a literary revolt of their own against the stifling, conservative mood of Restoration France. in 1789 the French had been governed by an absolute king. in the forty intervening years they had lived under governments of varying republican hues, had welcomed Napoleon, first as Consul and then as Emperor, and had looked on uncertainly when, after Waterloo, the restored monarchy proceeded, as liberal opinion believed, to turn back the clock. Napoleonic glory became a memory. the power of the Church and the wealthy landed classes revived and, though the democratic gains of 1789 were not entirely lost, the regime became increasingly repressive, especially in its attitude towards the expression of opinion. As the 1820s drew to a close, the political temperature rose dramatically as an ultra-conservative establishment set its face against the attacks and taunts of a new generation which believed in heroism, energy, freedom, and youth. the embattled climate of the times could not have been better tailored for Dumas, ever a man to relish a fight.

He was born in 1802 at Villers-Cotterêts, fifty miles northeast of Paris. His mother was an innkeeper's daughter and his father one of Napoleon's most pugnacious soldiers. General Dumas had risen through the ranks. the mulatto son of a West Indian slave and a French nobleman who had prudently left France for Santo Domingo in the middle of the eighteenth century, he had fallen from Napoleon's favour for speaking his mind during the Egyptian campaign in 1798. He returned to France broken in health and died in 1806, leaving his family with little more than his name. Alexandre received a modicum of schooling and was happy: even as a boy, Dumas, who always took his own sunshine with him wherever he went, seemed permanently insulated against life's disappointments. However, his infectious good spirits were sorely tested in the lawyer's office where he was put to work when he was 14. He decided . . .

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