Synopses & Reviews
First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades—Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady." As Clifton Fadiman reflected, "We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story. In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise—an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent."
First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of d'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades Athos, Porthos, and Aramis who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady."
Dumas's swashbuckling epic, a perennial favorite and perhaps the greatest adventure story of the nineteenth century. This is the only available paperback edition of the esteemed Le Clercq translation.
About the Author
Alexandre Dumas was born July 24, 1802, at Villiers-Cotterets, France, the son of Napoleon's famous mulatto general, Dumas. Alexandre Dumas began writing at an early age and saw his first success in a play he wrote entitled Henri III et sa Cour (1829). A prolific author, Dumas was also an adventurer and took part in the Revolution of 1830. Dumas is most famous for his brilliant historical novels, which he wrote with collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, and which were serialized in the popular press of the day. His most popular works are The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-45), and The Man in Iron Mask (1848-50). Dumas made and lost several fortunes, and died penniless on on December 5, 1870.
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?