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The Count of Monte Cristo
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Count of Monte Cristo Q2 2019 > 1️⃣Count of Monte Cristo- Intro through Chapter 22- Part 1 (of 6)

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message 1: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 02, 2019 07:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Discuss anything from Week 1 and 2 here. This thread covers through Chapter 22. If you'd like to discuss major plot events, please click the (some html is ok) link above the comment box to learn how to add a spoiler cover to your post.

If you haven't read through Chapter 22, stop reading now to avoid spoilers.


Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Thanks, J, for all your hard work!


message 3: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "Thanks, J, for all your hard work!"
Thanks Ella!


message 4: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 04, 2019 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Well, Week 1 reading ended on a bit of a surprise.

I like the way that all the characters are being introduced. You can see how they all have a part in the story. It's a beautiful set-up.

Is anyone else using 2 bookmarks? I have one marking my page and one in the notes at the back.

All in all, a lot faster read for me than War and Peace. I was worried I might not be able to follow another translation, but so far it seems to be smooth. Also, it seems this ia our 3rd consecutive big read that is taking place during a European war.


Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments I'm still working on these bits (think I have a couple more chapters, then I shall read on b/c stopping after week one was a mistake. I got an unexpected influx of books that I'd reserved up for the Man Booker and the Women's prizes, and I want to read them. Also I had no idea some of them are the door-stoppers that they are. Luckily others are short.) I just need to lean into this one and I shall catch up. I did find it a bit slow-going with the introductions, but I also appreciate the hooks he clearly sticks in while he's busy setting us in time and place. I can see how this would have worked in serial form. I find myself wondering where the best points for leaving off and starting again would be if I was in charge of chopping it up. Heh. Anyway, yes, another war. These favorite books and favorite or "must read" lists often include books about or set in wartime. I suppose it's the heightened drama that helps. As for two bookmarks - yes. In fact it's become my regular mode of reading for anything that has endnotes. I learned it in the 1990s when some big fat books with maps or graphs or charts and endnotes came out. So I have a whole drawer full of bookmarks and I'm always using at least a few. I actually would prefer footnotes b/c it's easier to read than flipping back and forth, but apparently it is not the way of the book world.


message 6: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Chapter 21 or 22 is a great place to stop. Chapter 20 ends one major section of the story, but it would be a cliff hanger if you stop there. Joy and Ella, if you read ahead, you might spot other good transition points. It's easy enough to edit the upcoming threads.

What did you think so far?

I liked that the author built up a description of each of the people who worked against Dantes, along with their motivations (weak as some might be). In too many thrillers, there is some unseen group of conspirators (e.g. "the government") but we don't know why individuals would go along with it. The conversation in the bar, with the three original plotters was very cleverly built. I had to go back and read it again to realize how __ (the rival on the boat, the supercargo) manipulated the the romantic rival and the drunk neighbor (was he sort of a loan shark?).

The Abbe was a great character. He talked about Machiavelli a few times, and there are lots of examples of machiavellianism in the story. Villefort is a perfect example. He smiles and tells people exactly what they want to hear, all the while working against them. He did it again and again, with different people, making the case stronger, and ensuring that Dantes wouldn't get out soon to threaten his career or his father. He also managed to stay on the right side of both Napoleon and the King.

Some modern day prosecutors are almost as bad. They're willing to do anything to secure a win to boost their career.

Dantes was so starved for contact with people in prison, I'm surprised he didn't try to talk with the guards. He seemed naturally friendly on the boat, and the guards didn't seem so bad. After so many years you'd think they could have built up some contact (starting with "thank you" when they brought his meals). Of course, not everyone can be like Mandela, who developed close friendships with his guards.

Let me know if you spot any juicy stuff in the Buss version. (I sound 13!) I have the book, but the print is too small to read for any length of time. I'm not having any difficulty with the version I'm reading and listening to.


message 7: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 10, 2019 07:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
The book is full of detail and description. I really enjoy it so far! It is an easy book to get into.

The abbe is a great character. He has a surreal quality about him and it starts by everyone at the prison being convinced he is quite mad. (view spoiler) I also enjoyed his back story a lot. He and Dantes are similar in many ways. They are both in for the same sort of crime except the abbe is actually guilty of it and you'd expect that the abbe would be the one who'd be innocent and jailed unfairly, not the other way around.


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "The book is full of detail and description. I really enjoy it so far! It is an easy book to get into.

Re the Abbe, you're right! I was expecting him to have a plan all laid out for Edmund based on this possibility. (view spoiler)



message 9: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Some chapters have a lot more description than others. I read that Dumas was considered to have plagiarized many of his books and he also used ghostwriters.

Many of the chapters in the 30's seem to be much wordier, and seem to be written by a different author than some of the others. Maybe a ghost writer was paid by the word. Dantes is suddenly quoting a lot of classic books such as the Arabian Nights, and The Odyssey. He's spending so much time with a new character and I have no idea yet who it is. If I had a clue, some of this dialogue might be more meaningful to me. But I should wait on this....


message 10: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "The book is full of detail and description. I really enjoy it so far! It is an easy book to get into.

Re the Abbe, you're right! I was expecting him to have a plan all laid out for Edmu..."


(view spoiler)


message 11: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "Some chapters have a lot more description than others. I read that Dumas was considered to have plagiarized many of his books and he also used ghostwriters.

Many of the chapters in the 30's seem ..."


I'm not sure how far along you are in the 30's, but I'll start adding to the next thread.


message 12: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments NancyJ wrote: "Some chapters have a lot more description than others. I read that Dumas was considered to have plagiarized many of his books and he also used ghostwriters.

Many of the chapters in the 30's seem ..."


This is a fascinating idea. Now I'll need to become a detective and get my stickies out to take notes. Do we have any idea who might have been writing for him? Anyone else famous?


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments J. wrote: "Well, Week 1 reading ended on a bit of a surprise.

I like the way that all the characters are being introduced. You can see how they all have a part in the story. It's a beautiful set-up.

Is anyo..."


I do that sometimes, even though I would prefer footnotes........but since I'm working through the French version on Kindle (and that was free public domain), and leaving my big fat print version at home, I'm not into the notes so far. Have just been checking a few words in the English edition to make sure that I understood things correctly. I WILL catch up! :D


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Ella wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Some chapters have a lot more description than others. I read that Dumas was considered to have plagiarized many of his books and he also used ghostwriters.

Many of the chapters in..."


In the intro to the Buss, he mentions how some of Dumas' plays were picked up by some friends of his in the theatre and edited a play, changing the ending, while Dumas was sleeping. Those friends were none other than Victor Hugo and someone named A. de Vigny.

Buss sees this as semi-normal for the times. Apparently, Dumas was the James Patterson of his times, churning out works and collaborating, vs someone like Flaubert, who toiled over a desk all day, revising and revising.

One collaborator was Auguste Maquet.


message 15: by Moonkiszt (new) - added it

Moonkiszt (moonkisztgmailcom) | 5 comments Sounds like a deep bio of Dumas is called for as a side read. . .


message 16: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "The book is full of detail and description. I really enjoy it so far! It is an easy book to get into.

Re the Abbe, you're right! I was expecting him to have a plan all la..."


That's a good point. Digging and swimming both require a strong upper body.


message 17: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments OK, I finally found the proper thread for the comments I wanted to make (I read ahead and I hate finding threads on GR sometimes.) Anyway...

I agree that swimming & digging are kin -- and that everyone in prison always bulks up, right? JK. Actually, I thought the years at If were not as horrid as I imagined they'd be. It wasn't like he starved or became completely tragic. And with the Abbe to guide him, it is a perfect set-up for the adventures to come. I also kept thinking "if this was written now, we'd spend 22 chapters just ruminating on the internal strife of being in prison, with lots of metaphor and words to look up." This is certainly not the case for Dumas. It's almost like being in prison was normal in some ways. I didn't think it was bad enough for him to become totally crazed with vengeance, and I also thought the Abbe, for a godly man, didn't help Dante much -- he egged him on about the whole revenge thing!

In spite of what reading litfic may have done to my reading of reality, I really liked the way Dumas explained how the 14 years in prison had changed Dante -- including the "flashes of misanthrope and hatred" to be found behind his eyes. Also that what some might have just called "aging" was described as "a spiritual change" to his features.

Completely unrelated to this week's reading (which I am still working on - I found a natural stopping place after 25, for me.)
Does anyone besides me have a hard time with the name Edmund Dantes? It feels wrong, and I'm wondering what it means -- like, are we supposed to think of Dante Alighieri and Inferno/Purgatorio/Paradiso? In a way, it almost feels like perhaps we might? Also every time it calls him Edmund, I have to check & remind myself that this is Dantes. What is the correct allusion? I'm really reading just to read and get done, despite what feels to me like many things I should be researching and looking up, but I fear if I allow myself to do that, I'll fall way behind and never finish.


message 18: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 24, 2019 08:53PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "OK, I finally found the proper thread for the comments I wanted to make (I read ahead and I hate finding threads on GR sometimes.) Anyway...

I agree that swimming & digging are kin -- and that eve..."


To me Edmond is very Anglo and Dantes is very Romantic and how the 2 ended up as a character name only Dumas could tell us.


message 19: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments J. wrote: "To be Edmond is very Anglo and Dantes is very Romantic and how the 2 ended up as a character name only Dumas can tell us. "

Yeah - that's why it feels so wrong! I keep reading it like they're two different people (though admittedly, I've gotten more used to it.) Anyway, I'll leap to the proper thread for this week. Thanks, J - you hit the nail on the head. They're a mismatch.


message 20: by KP (new) - rated it 5 stars

KP | 26 comments Try saying Edmond Dantes out loud with a French accent. It sounds better. Dantes in French shouldn't sound like Dante in Italian.

The name Abbe tripped up my tongue. He was like MacGyver finding ways to make things out of so little. The poor prison guards didn't know what they were missing. Solitary confinement would make anyone crazy so I thought Dantes would be worse off.

You all were right. It's an easy book to get into. The conspiracy against him was intricate and plausible. Villefort took advantage of every chance to make things worse for him. My heart was pounding as Dantes got closer to the prison, and then again as he was preparing to leave. His adventures with the smugglers added a lighter note after the prison.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Edmund certainly seems like Dante Alighieri in spirit who only tours hell in the Comedy. If I recall, Dante was a visitor so he was not to be handled by the denizens or prisoners. Dante was considered innocent because he had not yet been sentenced or judged, I think.

The Count of Monte Cristo is definitely an easy read, with a very plausible plot.


message 22: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Kgrinch wrote: "Try saying Edmond Dantes out loud with a French accent. It sounds better. Dantes in French shouldn't sound like Dante in Italian."

Oui, c'est vrai. It does work better with a French accent.

As April points out, I'm still not entirely sold on the idea that there isn't some kind of allusion going on here. He's certainly got trials, then later (after these chapters) he morphs into someone who may well earn a spot in one of those circles of hell. Who knows?


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