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The Three Musketeers (Modern Library (Hardcover)) Hardcover – Illustrated, November 18, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Dumas achieved instant fame on February 11, 1829, with the triumphant opening of Henri III et sa cour (Henry III and His Court). An innovative and influential play generally regarded as the first French drama of the Romantic movement, it broke with the staid precepts of Neoclassicism that had been imposed on the Paris stage for more than a century. Briefly involved as a republican partisan in the July Revolution of 1830, Dumas soon resumed playwriting and over the next decade turned out a number of historical melodramas that electrified audiences. Two of these works—Antony (1831) and La Tour de Nesle (The Tower of Nesle, 1832)—stand out as milestones in the history of nineteenth-century French theater. In disfavor with the new monarch, Louis-Philippe, because of his republican sympathies, Dumas left France for a time. In 1832 he set out on a tour of Switzerland, chronicling his adventures in Impressions de voyage: En Suisse ( Travels in Switzerland, 1834-1837); over the years he produced many travelogues about subsequent journeys through France, Italy, Russia, and other countries.
Around 1840 Dumas embarked upon a series of historical romances inspired by both his love of French history and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. In collaboration with Auguste Maquet, he serialized Le Chevalier d'Harmental in the newspaper Le Siècle in 1842. Part history, intrigue, adventure, and romance, it is widely regarded as the first of Dumas's great novels. The two subsequently worked together on a steady stream of books, most of which were published serially in Parisian tabloids and eagerly read by the public. He is best known for the celebrated d'Artagnan trilogy—Les trois mousquetaires ( The Three Musketeers, 1844), Vingt ans après (Twenty Years After, 1845) and Dix ans plus tarde ou le Vicomte de Bragelonne ( Ten Years Later; or The Viscount of Bragelonne, 1848-1850)—and the so-called Valois romances—La Reine Margot (Queen Margot, 1845), La Dame de Monsoreau ( The Lady of Monsoreau, 1846), and Les Quarante-cinc ( The Forty-Five Guardsmen, 1848). Yet perhaps his greatest success was Le Comte de Monte Cristo ( The Count of Monte Cristo), which appeared in installments in Le Journal des debats from 1844 to 1845. A final tetralogy marked the end of their partnership: Mmoires d'un medecin: Joseph Balsamo ( Memoirs of a Physician, 1846-1848), Le Collier de la reine ( The Queen's Necklace, 1849-1850), Ange Pitou ( Taking the Bastille, 1853), and La Comtesse de Charny ( The Countess de Charny, 1852-1855).
In 1847, at the height of his fame, Dumas assumed the role of impresario. Hoping to reap huge profits, he inaugurated the new Theatre Historique as a vehicle for staging dramatizations of his historical novels. The same year he completed construction of a lavish residence in the quiet hamlet of Marly-le-Roi. Called Le Château de Monte Cristo, it was home to a menagerie of exotic pets and a parade of freeloaders until 1850, when Dumas's theater failed and he faced bankruptcy. Fleeing temporarily to Belgium in order to avoid creditors, Dumas returned to Paris in 1853, shortly after the appearance of the initial volumes of Mes Memoires ( My Memoirs, 1852). Over the next years he founded the newspaper Le Mousquetaire, for which he wrote much of the copy, as well as the literary weekly Le Monte Cristo, but his finances never recovered. In 1858 he traveled to Russia, eventually publishing two new episodes of Impressions de voyage: Le Caucase (Adventures in the Caucasus, 1859) and En Russie (Travels in Russia, 1865).
The final decade of Dumas's life began with customary high adventure. In 1860 he met Garibaldi and was swept up into the cause of Italian independence. After four years in Naples publishing the bilingual paper L'Independant/L'Indipendente, Dumas returned to Paris in 1864. In 1867 he began a flamboyant liaison with Ada Menken, a young American actress who dubbed him 'the king of romance.' The same year marked the appearance of a last novel, La Terreur Prussiene (The Prussian Terror). Dumas's final play, Les Blancs et les Bleus (The Whites and the Blues), opened in Paris in 1869.
Alexandre Dumas died penniless but cheerful on December 5, 1870, saying of death: 'I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me.' One hundred years later his biographer Andre Maurois paid him this tribute: 'Dumas was a hero out of Dumas. As strong as Porthos, as adroit as d'Artagnan, as generous as Edmond Dantes, this superb giant strode across the nineteenth century breaking down doors with his shoulder, sweeping women away in his arms, and earning fortunes only to squander them promptly in dissipation. For forty years he filled the newspapers with his prose, the stage with his dramas, the world with his clamor. Never did he know a moment of doubt or an instant of despair. He turned his own existence into the finest of his novels.'
Top Customer Reviews
The first couple pages are basically one long paragraph that doesn't make sense unless you're re-reading it and already know the characters and what's going on. I was tempted to put it down, but I wasn't going to back down. By about page 30, it was easy to read, and I began to get into it.
What I discovered was that this is possibly one of the best pieces of fiction ever written. I couldn't put it down, and spent a whole Saturday reading it. I never expected it to be what it was from what I'd read on the back. But then, the plot is so complex, and there are so many sub-plots that you wonder how anyone can do it justice.
I read once that many people associate the word "classic" with the word "boring". As I've discovered, this is entirely not true. When I thought about it, the reason books become classics aren't because they're old and boring, but because people love them, because they are read by millions. The reason that they lasted for so long is because people kept them alive. I'm sure that in a century from now, only a select few books that we enjoy will still be in print, and those particular books will be the best of our time, just as The Three Musketeers was the best of its time.
I'm sorry if this review didn't suffice, I'm just hoping that maybe somebody will read it and give it a try.Read more ›
I could see it all when I was reading this. The man of Meung inspired a hatred in me. Mme Bonacieux`s capture gave me an unquenchable thirst to get to the bottom the mystery. Athos irritated me with his beating around the bush and refusal to answer questions.
Read this this book. Feel that suspense that I crave and I`m sure you crave also. This is an extraordinary story of love, adventure, mystery and peril...and it`s set in France, which makes it even better.
I heartily recommend the Lowell Bair 1984 translation printed by Bantam Books and available for Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Three-Musketeers-ebook/dp/B000FC29H0/ref=tmm_kin_title_7?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr. This most excellent translation is fresh, modern and faithful to both the spirit, grace, and the character of Dumas' authorized editions (there were at least three). Bair's translation is both literate and elegant. Unlike the Mobi/Project Gutenberg/Barrow version(s?), it never forces you to rearrange 19th century French grammar and syntax into modern 20th/21st century English. Bair does this for you without distilling out any of the flavor and panache that Dumas (et alia) infused into the original serials.
Similar to Bair's artistry is that of LeClerq (http://www.amazon.com/The-Three-Musketeers-ebook/dp/B000FC1KNY/ref=tmm_kin_title_popover?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr) and Pevear (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Musketeers-Penguin-Classics-ebook/dp/B000Q9J0QA/ref=tmm_kin_title_8?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr). Why the Pevear Penguin edition costs three times what Bair's and LeClerq's do is beyond me since I only sampled the Kindle version. However, I have read Bair's in hardcopy and recommend it for your Kindle reading pleasure. If you really are hard pressed for cash, then by all means: go for the free/cheap versions. Just remember, cheap does not bode well for quality.
The public quickly recognized that a new literary genre had appeared - a fast paced, action story based upon a historical event. Previous historical fiction now seemed slow, wordy, and even archaic.
What is even more surprising is that 150 years later The Three Musketeers remains widely popular, both in print and on screen. Exciting duels, close escapes, political intrigues, and chivalrous romance still capture the imagination of today's readers.
Today's public undoubtedly remembers more about French history - at least history according to Alexandre Dumas - from The Three Musketeers, and its sequels, than from high school and university classes. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis - and their friend D'Artagnan, the irrepressible, courageous, handsome young Gascon who aspires to become a Musketeer himself - are modern icons. Similarly, Dumas' portrayal of King Louis XIII, Queen Anne of Austria, and Cardinal Richelieu are decidedly more interesting than the dry, factual historical characters found in textbooks.
And it impossible to forget the enchanting, notorious, and dangerous Milady de Winter, one of the more dramatic and memorable character created by any author. I am somewhat disappointed that Milady is fictional.
Choices: There are several good translations of Three Musketeers, including paperbacks like the Bantam Classic and Signet Classic editions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a classic. If you don't already know how great this book is, then I'll tell you... It is. Period.Published 6 days ago by Eldric C.
I love this book. That said, I wish it had been proofread better. There are a lot of typos and incorrect words, which is annoying. Read morePublished 7 days ago by thebestsusan
Narrated by the eloquent John Lee, the Three Musketeers is a work of art.
I was not only educated, but blissfully entertained. Read more