Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dumas versus Hugo

As you may remember, I'm reading my second real book by Alexandre Dumas. I'm having as much fun, enjoying it as much, as I did the first time which was considerable.
If memory serves, Dumas and Hugo were relative contemporaries. I haven't read a biography of either; I have one on Hugo but if anyone can recommend a biography of Dumas I'd really appreciate it.
The two men have quite different writing styles. Hugo was writing about Grand Issues, Injustice to the Poor, the Evil of the Powerful (be they political or clerical), the necessity of compassion. He wrote well-crafted thoroughly researched books and he knew they were whole books. I mean, in Les Mis, we don't meet Jean Valjean until we're 100 pages in. Seriously. For the folks who have only seen the musical or movie, to think the first 100 pages is all about the bishop is kind of stunning. Wha--? And he was buried, according to one biography, "with every honor the French government could bestow." I remember he's buried not in Les Invalides with Napoléon, or in Père-Lachaise with Ingrès, Molière, and Jim Morrison, but in the Panthéon.
Dumas, on the other hand, not so much. He made and lost several fortunes and got published serially--daily columns in newspapers. It makes me think of Scheherezade, storytelling for his supper. It sure explains why he doesn't spend a whole chapter discussing the sewers of Paris (à la Hugo) but moves the story along quite a bit faster! I actually find myself laughing at some of his situations. You'll have to read to find out.

I'll tell you, I was looking at Amazon for a biography on Dumas and I found this instead. Now, I know it seems like a lot, but if you average it out, 25 volumes for $200 is less than $10 a book. For books like this, it's a total bargain. And my birthday is coming up next week, so your timing could not be better.
Note to my husband: I think we already have The Count of Monte Cristo from this set or possibly a later edition, from the conference last month. Eep. Now I feel like I stole something...



At 7:26 AM, Blogger Zach said...

You two are a bit frightening together at time. :)

Clearly, between the kids and the books, you're going to need to find some old, spooky, rambling Victorian mansion to move into and rennovate.

Especially for the books.



Post a Comment

<< Home