The Three Musketeers-Illustrated Classics-Book

The Three Musketeers-Illustrated Classics-Book

by Alexandre Dumas

Paperback(Graphic Novels)

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Overview

The Three Musketeers-Illustrated Classics-Book by Alexandre Dumas

These literary masterpieces are made easy and interesting. This series features classic tales retold with color illustrations to introduce literature to struggling readers. Each 64-page eBook retains key phrases and quotations from the original classics. This story exemplifies camaraderie and the loyalty the musketeers had to their king, queen, and country. The main characters; Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the adventurous three musketeers, later joined by d'Artagnan, all unite in their dedication to the defense of France and the destruction of Lady de Winter, "Milady," the conniving spy of Cardinal Richelieu and wicked murderer of Constance Bonacieux, the loyal seamstress and friend of the French Queen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781562549428
Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Series: Illustrated Classics Series
Edition description: Graphic Novels
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: GN470L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 18 Years

About the Author

Audio cassettes feature readings of the stories plus comprehension and pronunciation support.

Read an Excerpt

From Alexandre Dumas, a precise and candid description of his particular view of history:
I start by devising a story. I try to make it romantic, moving, dramatic, and when scope has been found for the emotions and the imagination, I search through the annals of the past to find a frame in which to set it; and it has never happened that history has failed to provide this frame, so exactly adjusted to the subject that it seemed it was not a case of the frame being made for the picture, but that the picture had been made to fit the frame.

This is the point of view of the historical novelist, who approaches the past as theater–the unending melodrama of saints and sinners, and who knows that history, eternally surprising, inspiring, disheartening, sometimes described as “one damn thing after another,” will never fail him. It is all there. And it is all there to be used.

Dumas was in his early forties when he wrote The Three Musketeers, an age when novelists are believed to be entering their best creative years. He is traditionally described as “a man of vast republican sympathies,” which, in contemporary terms, made him a believer in democracy, equality, and the rights of man. He had fought in the streets of Paris during the July revolution of 1830; would man the barricades in 1848; would aid Garibaldi, with guns and journalism, in the struggle for Italian independence in 1860.

Such politics came to him by inclination, and by birth. His father, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie, had taken the name of his African slave mother, Marie Dumas, and spent the early years of his life on the island of Santo Domingo. When the French Revolution made it possible for men without wealth or social connections to rise to power, the soldier Alexandre Dumas became General Alexandre Dumas, commanding the Army of the Alps in 1794, serving under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy, and later in Egypt. But his relationship with Bonaparte deteriorated; his health was destroyed by two years in an Italian prison; and he died, a broken man, in 1806. His son, in time the novelist Dumas, was then four years old, but he would be told of his father’s life, and he knew what it meant.

By 1844, France was ruled by Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orleans, a constitutional monarch known as “the bourgeois king,” who presided over the golden age of the French bourgeoisie, a propertied class animated by the slogan “Enrichissez-vous!” (Enrich yourselves!) This was a period of transition, when corrupt capitalism was opposed by passionate idealism–the age of monarchy was dying, the age of democracy was just being born. The best insight into the period is to be found in the novels of Honoré de Balzac–Dumas’s fierce literary rival. Balzac was virtually the same age as Dumas, and, like Dumas, rose from social obscurity and penury by producing a huge volume of work at an extraordinary pace. But Balzac wrote about contemporary life–the vanity, corruption and sexual politics of Paris in the 1840s–and was, throughout his fiction, essentially a novelist of vice. Dumas, on the other hand, was a novelist of virtue, though he had to go back two hundred years to find it.

Setting The Three Musketeers in the year 1625–at that distance, a contemporary American novelist might use the revolution of 1776–Dumas was summoning up a remote and heroic era. Yes, it was all different back then. Better. Still, it may be worth remembering that Dumas’s musketeers are proud, courageous men, men without inherited money or the support of prominent family, who must fight their way through a world of political intrigue dominated by predatory, immoral people who scheme and connive, who will do virtually anything, to keep their wealth and position. So, if it is about anything, The Three Musketeers is about betrayal, fidelity, and, like almost all genre fiction, it is about honor. Honor lost, honor gained, honor maintained at the cost of life itself. By 1894, the sale of Dumas’s works totaled three million books and eight million serials.

The Three Musketeers, the first book of the d’Artagnan trilogy, with Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to follow, appeared in installments in the journal Le Siècle from March to July in 1844. It was written with help of a collaborator, Auguste Maquet, who also participated in the writing of The Count of Monte Cristo. Maquet would later claim significant authorship, and haul Dumas into court.

Dumas was accused, as well, of plagiarism, having used The Memoirs of Monsieur d’Artagnan, by one Courtilz de Sandras, published in Cologne in 1701, as source material. There he found not only d’Artagnan but Athos, Porthos, and Aramis; Tréville and his musketeers; Milady and her maid; and the Cardinalist Guards. From the annals of French history, he took the machinations, real or reputed, involving Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Cardinal Richelieu, and the duke of Buckingham. Then he threw out whatever reality he found inconvenient and wrote what he liked.

In the real world of Europe in 1625, the continent was being torn apart by the Thirty Years War–a rather pallid name that obscures the cruel and brutal nature of its reality. Fighting on behalf of royal houses in conflict over religious issues and rights of succession, mercenary armies were paid by the right of pillage and ravaged the countryside, a strategy described as “war supports the war.” In France, French Catholics suppressed a French Protestant minority, the Huguenots, who were supported by English Protestant money and arms. Serving as virtual regent for a weak king Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was perhaps the greatest political figure of his time. Famously eloquent, determined and brilliant, Richelieu was a deeply ambitious man, but a devoted and faithful servant of king and country.

A popular novelist, however, must produce an archvillain, and Dumas gave the job to Richelieu. As the servant of Dumas’s fictional requirements, Richelieu is merely political on the surface, as he undertakes a series of intrigues in a struggle for power with the king or with his English Protestant enemy, Buckingham. In The Three Musketeers, Richelieu is discovered to have deeper motives, a lust for revenge inspired by a romantic slight–a spurned advance–and, in general, by sexual jealousy. The cardinal, according to Dumas, was in love with the queen, Anne of Austria. The reader of 1844, hurrying off to buy this week’s chapter in Le Siècle, likely suspected as much.

Serialized fiction read as a novel can, at times, be a slightly bumpy ride. The twists and turns of the story are intended not only to keep the reader reading, but to keep the reader buying. Thus the plot tends toward precipitous dives and breathtaking ascents, as peril and escape follow each other at narrow intervals, characters disappear and are brought back to life, and what seemed like the central crisis of the narrative is suddenly resolved, to be replaced by a second crisis.

The perfidious Cardinal Richelieu is a good example of this principle at work. He’s a useful éminence grise at the beginning of the novel, as Cardinalist guards fight the king’s faithful musketeers. But, when it’s time for the story to end, he’s too historical a figure to be vanquished with all the force that the conclusion of a romantic adventure demands. Thus the role of villain is shifted to Milady; the story can then take its chilling and violent turn; and justice, when it is at last achieved, can be, to say the least, severe.

Since writers of serials wrote for a weekly deadline, there was no such thing as regret or revision, and the reader may see rather more of the novel’s scaffolding than the author would like. Dumas, characteristically, solved this problem with talent, and produced the best writing in The Three Musketeers in the latter third of the novel, for example the combination of battle and picnic at the Bastion Saint Gervais, during the attack on the Protestant stronghold at La Rochelle. This is easily one of the most insouciant scenes in all of literature, as the musketeers, intent on winning a tavern bet, occupy the bastion; sip wine; discuss matters of love and strategy; push a wall over on a raiding party; use the dead as mock defenders; and, finally, after four-hundred pages of action and intrigue, actually fire muskets!

This is but one pleasure among many. There is, throughout The Three Musketeers, a vast and magnanimous intelligence at work. The critic Jules Michelet described Alexandre Dumas as “an inextinguishable volcano,” and “one of the forces of nature.” He was certainly that. Born to write, and born to write about mythic times and mythic deeds, Dumas loved his characters and the elaborate story he fashioned for them. This is a telling trait in a novelist, the reader instinctively feels it, so gives himself to the story, lives in the time and place of its setting, and escapes, as surely as d’Artagnan ever escaped, from the drone of daily existence. That’s the job of romantic fiction and it’s done in The Three Musketeers on virtually every page. “All for one, and one for all!” And all for us.

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction9
Part 1
1The Three Gifts of Monsieur d'Artagnan the Elder27
2Monsieur de Treville's Ante-Room42
3The Audience53
4Athos' Shoulder, Porthos' Shoulder-Belt, and Aramis' Handkerchief65
5The King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards73
6His Majesty King Louis XIII84
7The Musketeers at Home105
8A Court Intrigue115
9D'Artagnan takes Command124
10A Seventeenth-Century Mouse-Trap133
11The Plot Thickens144
12George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham162
13Monsieur Bonacieux171
14The Man of Meung180
15Soldiers and Magistrates191
16In which Seguier, the Keeper of the Seals, looks again for the Chapel Bell which in his youth he rang so furiously201
17The Bonacieux at Home213
18The Lover and the Husband228
19The Plan of Campaign236
20The Journey245
21My Lady de Winter259
22The Merlaison Ballet269
23The Tryst277
24The Summer-House285
25Porthos' Mistress299
26Aramis' Thesis318
27Athos' Wife335
28The Return355
29In Search of Equipment369
30Milady378
31English and French386
32Lunch at the Lawyer's394
33Mistress and Maid403
34How Aramis and Porthos Found Their Equipment413
35All Cats are Grey at Night422
36Plans for Revenge430
37Milady's Secret437
Part 2
1How Athos Found His Equipment Without Bestirring Himself447
2A Vision456
3The Cardinal464
4The Siege of La Rochelle473
5The Anjou Wine484
6The Red Dovecote Inn492
7The Advantage of Stove Pipes500
8A Conjugal Scene508
9The Bastion of St Gervais514
10A Council of War521
11A Family Affair539
12Disaster553
13Conversation Between Brother and Sister561
14Officer!569
15First Day of Captivity579
16Second Day of Captivity586
17Third Day of Captivity593
18Fourth Day of Captivity601
19Fifth Day of Captivity609
20Histrionics in the Grand Manner623
21Escape629
22What Happened at Portsmouth on 25 August 1628638
23In France648
24The Carmelite Convent at Bethune654
25The Female and the Male668
26A Drop of Water674
27The Man in the Red Cloak690
28The Trial696
29The Execution704
30A Messenger from the Cardinal709
Epilogue719

Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss Dumas's use of historical events in the novel. Do you think a knowledge of history is necessary or unnecessary in order to enjoy the novel? Discuss the ways in which Dumas alters or takes liberties with real events in order to suit the story. Is his view of history sanitized in any way?

2. Dumas is thought of as the chief popularizer of French Romantic drama. In considering The Three Musketeers, do you think this reputation is an accurate one? How does Dumas use dramatic effect in the novel?

3. Contemporary critics were offended by the scenes depicting vice and violence in the novel. Do you find these scenes arbitrary or not?

4. Many critics have described the musketeers as well-developed stereotypes, but are there ways in which the musketeers transcend these stereotypes? Are there other, perhaps more complex ways of interpreting the four protagonists?

5. Discuss Dumas's female characters, in particular Milady. What is her role in the novel, and what does this reveal about Dumas's views of women, if anything? Does Dumas depict a war between the sexes?

6. How do the chapter endings contribute to Dumas's masterly maintenance of pace? How does this kind of device recall a play, and how does this speak to Dumas's strengths stylistically?

7. In what ways is The Three Musketeers a bildungsroman? Would you characterize the work as a youthful novel?

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