Saturday, 16 May 2009


When we were away in USA we spent a lot of time reading in airports and airplanes. As a result we ran out of reading material. (Iain could be heard mumbling, as he walked along The Strip in Las Vegas, "Can't find a bloody bookshop..."!!! I mean, you don't go to Vegas and look for bookshops, do you?!")

Anyhow when in Ashland I bought this paperback The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas in a lovely second-hand bookshop on Main Street. I found it a great read and have only just finished it. The above photo is my copy which, as you can see, is abridged.

Actually, to digress, I was made to read this in our French 91 class when I was about 16 or 17 and absolutely couldn't make head nor tale of it. Honestly, why that was ever given to teenagers in western Canada who would have no idea about the setting, the period etc etc I will never know!

Anyhow, apart from the fact that it is a tale of one man seeking vengeance for a wrong-doing it has lots of sub-plots in it, much like those Russian dolls where one sits inside the other all the way down. One such sub-plot is to do with greedy bankers, men who engage in insider trading on the stock market and men who spread false rumors in order to make their fortune. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Last week while reading on the train a man commented to me that a manuscript by Dumas was discovered last year in a Paris library and it has now been published*. This is it.

"A man called Claude Schopp is France's leading expert on Alexandre Dumas, and it was while looking through the national archives [in the 1980's] that he found a reference to a row in which Dumas was accused of besmirching the reputation of the Empress Josephine.

He could not work out where, because there was nothing of that nature in any of the known novels, until he was poring over old editions of a provincial newspaper and fell upon serialised excerpts of what, with a palpitating heart, he immediately realised must be Dumas's lost, last book.

In fact The Last Cavalier was unfinished when the writer died in 1870 and Mr Schopp has done us all a service by adding the final couple of chapters."**


* The Last Cavalier by Alexandre Dumas, Fourth Estate, 2008, pp754. Photo Wikipedia.

** Article from a BBC News programme From Out Own Correspondent here

1 comment:

Vagabonde said...

I did not know that a new manuscript of Alexandre Dumas had been found. I looked in the French searches and found one called “Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine” – that must be it. It is almost impossible to get French books around here, but I can order them on line from France, at a premium. I’ll tell my husband we have to go to France so I can buy some new books!