Normally I don't worry too much about politics in novels. I certainly didn't dwell on it in TTM, but with the Fronde introduced in TYA, my sympathies rather naturally turned toward the rebels, who do not really come off very well, Planchet notwithstanding.
Yes, D'Artagnan is a much more interesting character in TYA, although I still think he is spiritual kin to other provincial kids on the make like Julien Sorel or Frédéric Moreau. (I wonder if Dumas read Le Rouge et le Noir?)
Actually, all four musketeers are more interesting and better drawn in TWA, except perhaps Aramis, who fades into the woodwork a little.
It's quite interesting and unusual what Dumas does with Rochefort. He is this sinister Man of Mystery throughout most of TTM. He morphs into a good guy in TYA, only to be slain almost by accident by D'Artagnan at the end of the novel. Very unusual.
And yes, indeed, Guillermo, there most certainly is a sense of profound loss of the deep bonds of youthful friendship. A rewarding read, indeed.
: Your questions are very pertinent. As for
: Dumas's politics, he was a Romantic. Now,
: politically speaking, there are two kinds of
: Romantics. The first is the
: "democratic" Romantic, someone who
: dreams of "power to the people",
: of a basic equality and a communitarian
: decision-making process which does away with
: kings, feudal lords and the like. Think
: Rousseau and socialist utopians. The second
: is the "royalist" Romantic,
: someone deploring industrialization and
: vulgarization, nostalgic about the Middle
: Ages and its aesthetics, when good kings
: ruled for the benefit of the people, or bad
: kings were fought and deposed by knights
: errant. Dumas clearly belongs to this second
: kind. Parliament and the people are
: described, not as good people seeking
: democratic access, but dirty, vulgar rebels
: disrespectful of the royalty (although Dumas
: himself depict Louis XIII as an incompetent
: and Anne of Austria as a disloyal brat!!).
: My own conclusion is that his political
: thinking was instinctive, primitive and
: inconsistent, and that his novels on the
: Musketeers are really NOT political novels,
: but that they are about a different subject,
: to which I now turn.
: Ever since I first read this series, as a
: child, I've thought two things: that their
: main subject is Friendship, and that TYA is
: better than TTM. I think it's easy to see
: why: the forty-year-old D'Artagnan,
: disillusioned, rather poor, and solitary, is
: much more interesting than his twenty-year
: self. Far from being a successful and rich
: ladies' man, he is a forgotten (especially
: by the Queen) hero.
: True, TYA is more political than TTM: here
: Dumas deepens his political reflections.
: Richelieu was perhaps the bad guy in TTM,
: but he was a magnificent enemy, a cunning,
: brave and magnanimous foe, even more so when
: compared to the social-climbing, timorous,
: corrupt and greedy Cardinal Mazarin (a
: cardinal without being a priest!). The
: Italian is unpopular for these
: characteristics, as well as for the
: draconian fiscal measures introduced. He is
: confronted with the people, the Parliament,
: the bourgeoisie and a part of the nobility
: (led by Beaufort, which explains the
: interest Dumas takes in him, in part, the
: other part being the sensational manner of
: his escape).
: What about D'Artagnan's new friendship with
: his former foe Rochefort? I think the answer
: lies in this idea that the book is about
: friendship: how often does it happen that
: you find yourself a friend of a former
: schoolmate whom you used to hate or despise
: back in childhood? Friendships change
: throughout one's life: witness the
: transformation within the musketeers' group.
: I think it is in this subject that Dumas
: finds a more profound literature, when he
: depicts in detail the feelings of nostalgia
: for "the good old times", mixed
: with the longing for lost illusions and the
: pain about lost opportunities. Dumas
: analyzes the effects of time over
: friendship, fully aware that the good old
: times never ever come back and that we
: grieve for it.
: The English episode kindles a renewal of
: those feelings of community, of deep
: friendship, which reach their climax in
: Mazarin's kidnap and the escape from prison.
: In the end, the four former musketeers get
: ALL they want, except the one thing some of
: them crave the most: the recovery of the
: lost paradise of true, juvenile,
: disinterested friendship. I think we all can
: relate to that feeling.
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