Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"The Three Musketeers"

"The Three Musketeers is a perfect example of the novel we can remember without having read," writes Michael Wood in Slate about a new translation of the novel. "But does the actual book resemble our memories?"

Professor Wood is certainly correct: I haven't read the novel but I remember the story (and I'm not even sure where I remember it from). Actually, as his question suggests, my memory of the story is not very accurate.

I do remember, however, that I was never really sure about the particulars or the moral of the story. For one thing, these musketeers seemed to use their swords more than their muskets. More confounding to the young mind, that d'Artagnan fellow sure seemed to be part of the gang, so why weren't they the four musketeers? (Clearly, I was a very literal-minded youngster.)

Wood, using the occasion of the release this month of a new translation by Richard Pevear, resolves all these issues and much more. If the 752-page is not on your reading list yet you would like to know more about a classic story you almost certainly misremember, click here.

There is a useful mini-biography of Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas, père here.

Earlier on the blog: law professor Jonathan Freiman suggested that Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo would be a good novel for our series on fiction that demonstrates what's at stake in the debate over habeas corpus.

--Marshal Zeringue