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Old 08-22-2008, 06:52 AM   #1
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Post Dumas, Alexandre: D'Artagnan Romances, Vol 1. v2, 22 Aug 2008

Everyone is familiar with The Three Musketeers, thanks to the many movies which have been made of this book, some of them sharing little more than the name in common with the actual book

What some people may be unaware of is that The Three Musketeers is merely the first (small) part of a set of three books called, as a whole, the D'Artagnan Romances, which collectively tell the life story of D'Artagnan, who appears as a young man in The Three Musketeers. The book is, like its main protagonist, of truly heroic proportions. If you think that War and Peace or The Lord of the Rings would be quite good if only they were longer, this is the series for you .

This gets a bit complicated, so pay attention (there will be a test at the end)...

The D'Artagnan Romances consists of three books:

1. The Three Musketeers.
2. Twenty Years After (set 20 years after The Three Musketeers).
3. The Vicomte de Bragelonne (set 10 years after part 2 - ie 30 years after The Three Musketeers).

OK, so far, so good. Where it gets complicated is that the final book in the series is a truly gargantuan work, and is generally published split into either 3, 4, or 5 separate volumes. This edition uses the four volume version, and these four volumes are called, respectively:

3a. The Vicomte de Bragelonne.
3b. Ten Years Later.
3c. Louise de la Valliere.
3d. The Man in the Iron Mask.

Where things get complicated is that The Vicomte de Bragelonne can refer to either the whole of this third book, or just to the first volume of it. Moreover, it is subtitled Ten Years Later, so once again this title can refer to the whole book or just the second volume of it. Finally, just to confuse matters, The Man in the Iron Mask is often printed as a "self-contained" novel, and can be split up in quite a different manner from the 4-part split described above.

Phew...

Hope that's clear to everyone .

Anyway, back to the plot. What I'm going to do is issue the whole series in FOUR volumes, as follows:

Vol 1 - The Three Musketeers (this book).
Vol 2 - Twenty Years After.
Vol 3 - The first two parts of the complete Vicomte de Bragelonne; ie The Vicomte de Bragelonne and Ten Years Later.
Vol 4 - The final two parts of the complete Vicomte de Bragelonne; ie Louise de la Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask.

That should be enough to keep even the keenest reader going for a while.

I should add, by the way, that this is a wonderful series. I've read it many times, and never tire of it. It's best to read it straight through, if you can.

The plot, for those not familiar with it:

The year is 1625. The young D'Artagnan arrives in Paris at the tender age of 18, and almost immediately offends three musketeers, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. Instead of dueling, the four are attacked by five of the Cardinal's guards, and the courage of the youth is made apparent during the battle. The four become fast friends, and, when asked by D'Artagnan's landlord to find his missing wife, embark upon an adventure that takes them across both France and England in order to thwart the plans of the Cardinal Richelieu. Along the way, they encounter a beautiful young spy, named simply Milady, who will stop at nothing to disgrace Queen Anne of Austria before her husband, Louis XIII, and take her revenge upon the four friends.

Enjoy - the other volumes to follow shortly.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:34 AM   #2
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Bravo Harry!
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:13 PM   #3
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So which translation is this based on? I started to reading it and the I happened to have Wordsworth Classics version and compared the text and there is a lot of difference. For example chapter 7 is "The interior of 'The Musketeers'" in this version and "The Domestic Manners of the Musketeers" in Wordsworth's version. The first paragraph in Wordsworth's version says "...and Porthos and Aramis to hire a lackey" and this version says "...Porthos to engage a lackey, and Aramis to provide himself with a suitable mistress".

So why these rather big differences?
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:33 AM   #4
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Unfortunately the PG source does not credit a translator; many of these 19th century translations appear to have been anonymous - they were (I'd guess) hired by the publisher to do the translation.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
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Some feedback on formatting. If you follow footnote number 3 in chapter 9 you get to the text "[3] Haberdasher". I wanted to look up Haberdasher on my Cybook but it included "[3] " in the word and does not find it. Maybe this should be formatted so that all words in a footnote can be looked up? Maybe a : after [3] is enough?
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:27 AM   #6
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OK - thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:23 PM   #7
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A belated thank you! I just started reading a badly formatted PG version, and I'm really enjoying it (despite the horrible formatting) but I'm sure I'll enjoy it much more with your version.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:42 PM   #8
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Here is a tidbit for the enjoyment of the story. they are always talking about the montary unit "pistoles". It took me years to figure out that it was equivalent to the standard gold coin of France in the era, The Louis D'Or (.2201 Actual Gold Weight). Not in the usual dictionaries....
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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A pistole is the same as a louis? I just came across a point in the story where some amount of pistoles plus some other change (which I thought included louis) was converted to a larger sum of livres, and made a mental note to go try to find out what the relationship between these various coins was.

And, as I anticipated, I certainly have been enjoying the nicely formatted version more than the PG version with broken lines everywhere. What charming young idiots! (Even Athos comes across that way, sometimes.)
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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A pistole is the same as a louis? I just came across a point in the story where some amount of pistoles plus some other change (which I thought included louis) was converted to a larger sum of livres, and made a mental note to go try to find out what the relationship between these various coins was.

And, as I anticipated, I certainly have been enjoying the nicely formatted version more than the PG version with broken lines everywhere. What charming young idiots! (Even Athos comes across that way, sometimes.)
The pistole was originally a Spanish denomination, also referred to as a double escudo, I believe. France and Spain did a lot of trade 1500's and 1600's, so France struck Louis D'Or to the Spanish standard, as well as maintaining their own local currency (livres), which could be exchanged back and forth. In the 1800's and early 1900's, some Latin American countries did the same with English pounds (gold) and French 20 Francs (gold). Peru made some very pretty trade coins...
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:18 PM   #11
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The pistole was originally a Spanish denomination, also referred to as a double escudo, I believe. France and Spain did a lot of trade 1500's and 1600's, so France struck Louis D'Or to the Spanish standard, as well as maintaining their own local currency (livres), which could be exchanged back and forth. In the 1800's and early 1900's, some Latin American countries did the same with English pounds (gold) and French 20 Francs (gold). Peru made some very pretty trade coins...
also, little trivia for you, "la livre" means the pound in french (not to be confused with "le livre", the book), this name comes from a monetary system which was used by france until the revolution and in... the UK, until 1971.

1 livre = 20 sous or 240 deniers, and 1 sou = 12 deniers

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_la_monnaie
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:23 PM   #12
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also, little trivia for you, "la livre" means the pound in french (not to be confused with "le livre", the book), this name comes from a monetary system which was used by france until the revolution and in... the UK, until 1971.

1 livre = 20 sous or 240 deniers, and 1 sou = 12 deniers

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_la_monnaie
And the pound involved was a pound (Troy) of Silver (not gold). The ratio slowly changed, back and forth, over time between gold and silver...

(And money changers charged a fee for the conversion, just like today....)
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:50 PM   #13
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A pistole is the same as a louis? I just came across a point in the story where some amount of pistoles plus some other change (which I thought included louis) was converted to a larger sum of livres, and made a mental note to go try to find out what the relationship between these various coins was.
It's a while since I read these books, but I seem to recall that a "pistole" is worth two "louis". I may be mistaken, however!
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:36 PM   #14
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also, little trivia for you, "la livre" means the pound in french (not to be confused with "le livre", the book), this name comes from a monetary system which was used by france until the revolution and in... the UK, until 1971.
See, that part I knew.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:21 PM   #15
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also, little trivia for you, "la livre" means the pound in french (not to be confused with "le livre", the book), this name comes from a monetary system which was used by france until the revolution and in... the UK, until 1971.
The pound is, of course still used in the UK - it's just its "subdivision" which changed from "shillings and pence" (12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound) to a simple 100 pence to the pound.

It's interesting to note that the standard "abbreviations" used for the pre-decimal British currency go right back to Roman times. The symbols "L" (pounds) "s" (shillings), "d" (pence) were short for "Libri", "solidi", and "denarii" - all Roman units of measurement.
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