February 14, 2011

DANTES' INFERNO:

Classic review: The Count of Monte Cristo: A swashbuckling new edition of a story that never grows old. (Erik Spanberg, February 6, 2011, CS Monitor)

Dumas published the book in 1846. It is no exaggeration to say “Monte Cristo” still ranks as one of the most exciting stories imaginable, one every bit as good as anything Steven Spielberg or J.K. Rowling could ever conjure up.

Edmond Dantes, a young sailor on the cusp of being named captain of a cargo ship and preparing to marry his sweetheart, becomes the victim of a plot by envious rivals. It leads to false imprisonment of the worst kind, with young Dantes banished to the 19th-century French version of Alcatraz.

Dantes is an innocent of spectacular proportions, clueless as to who has conspired against him – and just as ignorant about how horrible his prospects for ever seeing daylight again have become.

As Eco notes, Dumas pulls off three spectacular narratives in “Monte Cristo.” He tells the story of a wronged innocent man, relates a spectacular hidden-treasure scenario, and caps the fall and rise of his hero’s fortunes with a thrilling series of vendettas allowing readers the endless satisfaction of seeing retribution delivered with violent verve.

Those are technical descriptions of what Dumas accomplishes. Better put, Edmond Dantes makes James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Jason Bourne look in the mirror and wonder why nothing interesting ever happens.



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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2011 6:16 AM
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