Hello, friends! I’m a little behind this week, thanks to being much busier on vacation than I expected. Get excited because I will have a crazy awesome post all about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail coming up here soon! But until then, let’s chat about Alexandre Dumas and his novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
Alexandre Dumas seems to have been just as illustrious and thought-provoking as the title character in this month’s Book Club Classics read. Born in 1802, Dumas’s father was the son of a French nobleman and a Haitian slave. Although he died in 1806 when Dumas was very young, his well-known military career and aristocratic title opened many doors as Dumas gained adulthood—including a position with the Duke of Orléans, Louis-Philippe.
During his lifetime, Dumas wrote plays, novels, and an independent newspaper. He gained much success from all of these endeavors, but habitually spent more than he earned and had at least 40 mistresses to keep happy! In fact, he had his own Château de Monte-Cristo that he was forced to sell to pay his debts. One note from his life that I found interesting is his collaboration with Auguste Maquet, an assistant who supposedly drafted much of the plots of some of Dumas’s famous novels (including The Count of Monte Cristo!) and sued him for more money and his name on these works. Obviously the case didn’t work out in his favor…
From his father’s military career, he learned much about the army and the campaigns fought during Napoleon’s reign in France. However, his own life provided him with experience regarding the ever-changing nature of politics; Dumas participated in the July Revolution that got rid of Charles X in lieu of Louis-Philippe, he was forced to flee France when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was elected as president, and he brushed shoulders with the elite of Russia and Italy during this exile.
Although he is now interred in Paris’s Panthéon, he was originally buried in his birthplace and basically forgotten. When a resurgence of Dumas’s popularity occurred, it became obvious that the Franco-Prussian War and the racism of the time of his life had done an injustice to his legacy, and it was eradicated when he was placed alongside other great French authors in the Panthéon in 2002, the bicentennial of his birth.
Now for some questions that I had while reading:
- Did your feelings toward Dantes as a character change from the beginning to the end of the story?
- How did you feel about the changes in point of view throughout the story?
- Were you able to keep track of the different characters and how they knew one another?
- What was the significance of the Count of Monte Cristo’s fascination with the East and Oriental culture?
- Which characters had disguises, and how did they use these alter egos?
- How did you react to the slavery present in the novel?
Don’t forget to join me back here on Friday for Book Club Classics, and as always, there’ll be a linkup for any posts on The Count of Monte Cristo or any other classic books!