Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.

I like this line. There's a date which is a little obtrusive, but there is wit and conflict - a revolution is flowering. I don't know who the author of Romance of the Rose is but I can google that. It is annoying though, that I have to google something in the first line. But google I do. I assume it's the book by Guillaume de Lorris, but if it isn't, whatever.

There is a lot of information in this sentence. I guess this was written back in the days when information was entertainment. Huguenots is familiar to me but La Rochelle is not. Not such a good idea to introduce people, places or things that are local, if you are trying to reach a wide audience. It could turn a lot of people off before they even get a chance to turn the page. But there is tone and conflict, so most people would read on, even if they had no idea that they were reading The Three Musketeers. It would be interesting, with some of these classics, to have people read the opening lines without knowing what they were reading, to see if it hooked them or not. I suspect that with today's TV induced coma brains, most people would fail this opening.

What follows is a reference to Don Quixote and a POV switch addressing the reader. Always annoying, unless it's Dr. Seuss.

First thing said:

"My son...this horse was born in the house of your father about thirteen years ago, and has remained in it ever since, which ought to make you love it." 

This is part of the series: the top 100 novels from Daniel S. Burt's book called Novel 100, the top 100 novels of all time. There is debate of course as to what should be on that list, but his opinions are as good as any. The Three Musketeers is number 98.

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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