La Reine Margot (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 14 Aug 2008
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About the Author
David Coward is Professor of Modern French Literature at the University of Leeds. He won the Scott-Moncrieff Award for translation in 1996 and has edited all the Dumas père editions in World's Classics. He also translated for the series Dumas fils's Lady of the Camellia.
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Top Customer Reviews
That apart, this is a brilliant story: set in 1572, it concerns itself with the French wars of religion, especially the horrendous St Bartholomew's Eve massacre when Catholics slaughted Huguenots (Protestants) on the streets of Paris. The poisonous (literally) Catherine de Medici is set against the luminous Marguerite (called Margot by her brothers), and Dumas creates a story that pulses with drama. This is especially good on the claustrophobia of the Louvre where conversations are always elliptical and opaque, where secret lovers breath messages to each other in Latin, and where truth and integrity are always at a premium.
Like other Dumas novels (e.g. The Three Musketeer series) you do need to understand the historical background, and while the notes in this Oxford edition do an admirable job of filling that in you should be wary of the editor slipping in frequent 'spoilers', for example contrasting the historical career of a character with his/her role in Dumas' novel - very iritating for the first time reader.
So this is a great read, in my view better than the Three Musketeers. If you can, though, I would strongly recommend reading it in the original (a free Kindle edition is available: La Reine Margot (French Edition)) which has a certain something that the English doesn't capture.
Based on available historical sources at the time and embellished with Dumas' unique sense of drama, it is a spectacular read, full of danger, sudden developments, and psychological depth. While it may not be as deep as Stendhal's best works, it is absolutely first rate as a historical novel, a genre that Dumas helped to develop. It stimulates the reader's desire to plung more deeply into French history as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
arrived on time and as described. could not ask for more.Published 4 months ago by Tonie M. van Dam
I was ambivalent towards this book. It's nothing special. I guess if you like classical French literature you might like it. If not than I recommend you don't buy it. Read morePublished on 14 July 2013 by Gillian Ross