My Memoirs (1802 to 1833)

Library of Alexandria
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 There is no real biography of Alexandre Dumas. Nobody has collected and sifted all his correspondence, tracked his every movement, and pursued him through newspapers and legal documents. Letters and other papers (if they have been preserved) should be as abundant in the case of Dumas as they are scanty in the case of Molière. But they are left to the dust of unsearched offices; and it is curious that in France so little has been systematically written about her most popular if not her greatest novelist. Many treatises on one or other point in the life and work of Dumas exist, but there is nothing like Boswell's Johnson or Lockhart's Scott. TheMémoires by the novelist himself cover only part of his career, Les Enfances Dumas; and they bear the same resemblance to a serious conscientious autobiography as Vingt Ans Après bears to Mr. Gardiner's History of England. They contain facts, indeed, but facts beheld through the radiant prismatic fancy of the author, who, if he had a good story to tell, dressed it up "with a cocked hat and a sword," as was the manner of an earlier novelist. The volumes of travel, and the delightful work on Dumas's domestic menagerie,Mes Bêtes, also contain personal confessions, as does the novel, Ange Pitou, with the Causeries, and other books. Fortunately Dumas wrote most about his early life, and the early life of most people is more interesting than the records of their later years.

In its limitation to his years of youth, the Mémoires of Dumas resemble that equally delightful book, the long autobiographical fragment by George Sand. Both may contain much Dichtung as well as Wahrheit: at least we see the youth of the great novelists as they liked to see it themselves. The Mémoires, with Mes Bêtes, possess this advantage over most of the books, that the most crabbed critic cannot say that Dumas did not write them himself. In these works, certainly, he was unaided by Maquet or any other collaborator. They are all his own, and the essential point of note is that they display all the humour, the goodness of heart, the overflowing joy in life, which make the charm of the novels. Here, unmixed, unadulterated, we have that essence of Dumas with which he transfigured the tame "copy" drawn up by Maquet and others under his direction. He told them where to find their historical materials, he gave them the leading ideas of the plot, told them how to block out the chapters, and then he took these chapters and infused into them his own spirit, the spirit which, in its pure shape, pervades every page of the Mémoires. They demonstrate that, while he received mechanical aid from collaborators, took from their hands the dry bones of his romances, it was he who made the dry bones live. He is now d'Artagnan, now Athos, now Gorenflot, now Chicot,—all these and many other personages are mere aspects of the immortal, the creative Alexandre.

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Publisher
Library of Alexandria
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Published on
Dec 31, 1961
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781465593535
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Features
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For the first time in English in over a century, a new translation of the forgotten sequel to Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, continuing the dramatic tale of Cardinal Richelieu and his implacable enemies. In 1844, Alexandre Dumas published The Three Musketeers, a novel so famous and still so popular today that it scarcely needs introduction. Shortly thereafter he wrote a sequel, Twenty Years After, that resumed the adventures of his swashbuckling heroes.

Later, toward the end of his career, Dumas wrote The Red Sphinx, another direct sequel to The Three Musketeers that begins, not twenty years later, but a mere twenty days afterward. The Red Sphinx picks up right where the The Three Musketeers left off, continuing the stories of Cardinal Richelieu, Queen Anne, and King Louis XIII—and introducing a charming new hero, the Comte de Moret, a real historical figure from the period. A young cavalier newly arrived in Paris, Moret is an illegitimate son of the former king, and thus half-brother to King Louis. The French Court seethes with intrigue as king, queen, and cardinal all vie for power, and young Moret soon finds himself up to his handsome neck in conspiracy, danger—and passionate romance!

Dumas wrote seventy-five chapters of The Red Sphinx, all for serial publication, but he never quite finished it, and so the novel languished for almost a century before its first book publication in France in 1946. While Dumas never completed the book, he had earlier written a separate novella, The Dove, that recounted the final adventures of Moret and Cardinal Richelieu.

Now for the first time, in one cohesive narrative, The Red Sphinx and The Dove make a complete and satisfying storyline—a rip-roaring novel of historical adventure, heretofore unknown to English-language readers, by the great Alexandre Dumas, king of the swashbucklers.
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