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2011 Group Reads - Archives > The Count of Monte Cristo - Part 4 - Chapters 81-117 & Wrap-up

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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
This is the folder for any comments, thoughts, and discussion associated with Chapters 81 through 117 of Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo".

message 2: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) I'm still working my way through this book--40% done right now. I haven't really been posting, as I know I'm alone on the read, but I really, really love it, which I wasn't expecting to do.

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Loretta wrote: "I'm still working my way through this book--40% done right now. I haven't really been posting, as I know I'm alone on the read, but I really, really love it, which I wasn't expecting to do."

Loretta, I am glad that you are enjoying the novel! It really is a great rollicking read, and one with a strong moral message at that. Do take the time to provide us with your thoughts and comments on the book as you finish it. Happy Reading! Chris

message 4: by Loretta (last edited Feb 19, 2011 08:26AM) (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) I will, though I'll admit I am, for the most part, really enjoying the adventure and suspense aspects of it, rather than looking too deeply at its message.

That being said, there have been a few sentences or paragraphs here and there that I've highlighted because I thought they hit particularly well on certain emotional truths. I'll have to actually enter them on the system here (unless someone else already has). Maybe that way, even if my analysis isn't particularly deep, there'll still be something we can discuss.

message 5: by Connor (new)

Connor (connork) Well, I finished the Count of Monte Cristo last month and I loved it. I would like to discuss points like that when you get them on the system.

message 6: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) DONE! And it only took me a week longer than the schedule. Not bad considering I have three other books in active rotation right now.

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Loretta wrote: "DONE! And it only took me a week longer than the schedule. Not bad considering I have three other books in active rotation right now."

Congratulations, Loretta! It is definitely worth reading too.

message 8: by Connor (new)

Connor (connork) I agree. I even bought a copy after I finished (it's abridged though, but I read the original text so it doesn't matter as much I don't think).

message 9: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Christopher wrote: "Congratulations, Loretta! It is definitely worth reading too."

Yep, I loved it! I'm still kind of processing it, so I haven't really reviewed it yet, though I did give it 5 stars and wrote a necessary "Wonderful" in the review box.

Now onto Ethan Frome!

message 10: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) So, rather than reviewing/commenting on this book in any cohesive way (LOL), I've decided that I'll come here and post thoughts as they occur to me as I continue to digest this book. I hope others who have read this book lately or in the past join in to talk over some of these topics, or to add some of their own.

One thought that I had today is in regards to the character of Eugenie Danglars.

I recall that either in the first week's thread, or in the background thread, someone posted (in response to a question of mine, in fact), that the Robin Buss translation from a few years back came highly recommended not only for updating the language, but also because it included the hints of Eugenie's sexual orientation that had been cut from the 19th century, anonymous translation.

In the end, I wound up using the 19th century translation, which I found flowed very nicely (and which i'm sure I enjoyed even more than I would have otherwise due to Richard Matthews' wonderful narration as I mentioned, I mostly listened to it, though I did read along sometimes... perhaps 15% of the time).

Anyway, the point is that, despite hearing that the earlier translation had been edited to remove Eugenie's lesbian characteristics (or at least the somewhat stereotypical characteristics that would be construed as belonging to a gay woman), I found that the edition that I used, which was the 19th century translation, retained all those references. I am wondering at what point the text was edited so that it is now unexpurgated. I'm assuming that the original translator translated the whole thing, but the editors removed the "offensive" parts, and perhaps they've now been restored, since it's 2011 and all. In any case, I can't imagine that the edition I was reading was at all edited, since I found Eugenie's sexual orientation glaringly obvious.

The above was mostly a digression however. What I wanted to talk about, for the most part, was the fact that Eugenie got one of the (comparatively few) "happy endings" of the novel, and perhaps the only happy ending for one who Dumas seemed to view with some moral ambiguity. For comparison, Maximilian and Valentine end up very happy, but they have been portrayed throughout as everything you could want in a man and woman, respectively--he is brave and loyal, she is loving and soft and kind.

Eugenie, on the other hand, is frequently spoken of as being hard and determined--her so-called "masculine" traits--and yet it is this determination that allows her to make her escape to Belgium, to live a modest life with her music teacher, who is also the woman she obviously loves.

And yet I can't help feeling that Dumas held some disdain for the character, while simultaneously admiring her strength.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

(Meanwhile, Mercedes was all softness and passivity, which is actually what led her to betray Edmond by acquiescing to Fernand's proposal. In the end, she spends the rest of her days alone, her only joy seeing Albert's advancement in the world. Despite the fact that she's clearly viewed as one of the "good" characters, she is in sharp contrast with Eugenie, whose sheer force of will gets her what she wants out of life--her music and her love.)

message 11: by Loretta (last edited Mar 07, 2011 07:34PM) (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Another, unrelated, question--I believe it's the only plot point that I haven't entirely figured out.

Does M. Debray have Andrea Cavalcanti killed?

In Chapter 110, The Assizes, Andrea, a.k.a. Benedetto, tells in court the story of his birth and of his father, Villefort, burying him alive. Madame Danglars (who you may recall is Andrea's mother through an affair with Villefort) faints at the news. Debray, who is another lover of Madame Danglars, has the following exchange with one of the guards transporting Andrea after Andrea's testimony:

As for Andrea, who was as calm and more interesting than ever, he left the hall, escorted by gendarmes, who involuntarily paid him some attention.

"Well, what do you think of this, my fine fellow?" asked Debray of the sargent-de-ville, slipping a louis into his hand.

"There will be extenuating circumstances," he replied.

It seems to me that Debray is "cleaning up" this mess for Madame Danglars (and also for himself, as he was feeding her information he wasn't supposed to, which could come out if she got caught up in a scandal).

Did anyone else catch this? It's pretty subtle, but I think that's what happened...

message 12: by Loretta (last edited Mar 07, 2011 08:36PM) (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Also (see, i told you all that I'd type up these thoughts as they come to me), I'd love to hear what everyone has to say about the Count's treatment of Albert de Morcerf.

Generally speaking, when the Count affected the second generation, he did so in one of two ways: 1) with purpose-driven punishment (e.g. viewing Andrea Cavalcanti as deserving of his punishment) or, 2) with disregard (not caring one way or another if Valentine was affected by his machinations, as he didn't know her, and therefore she was below his regard).

But the Count knew Albert, and was even rather friendly with him. He was aware that Albert was a kind, brave, and loyal young man. And yet he was willing to (until the point of Mercedes' intervention) kill him due to an insult. Moreover, even had things not reached that point, he had to have known that his ruin of Albert's father, Fernand, would bring shame on Albert.

To me his actions affecting Albert are actually his most deplorable. While it's a valid argument that his actions with regard tot he Villefort family (instructing Madame Villefort on how to poison the family members in her way, and than standing blithely by as she does so) are worse, as they actually resulted in death, he had no connection with those people, so it's understandable that he would not feel anything at their deaths. But the Count knew Albert and still continued to act as he did against him.

The more I think over it, the more unsettled I am with his methodical befriending and then destruction of Albert.

message 13: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 24 comments I know this discussion ended almost a year ago, but I'm a new member of the group and I'm enjoying reading your previous selections and comments. Just a word in case anyone out there is listening. This is probably the most verbose book I've ever succeeded in finishing. Also unsatisfying. Why can't the Count forgive Mercedes? Are forgiveness and redemption impossible? Or are they just impossible for the vengeful Count? What are we to make of the Count's falling in love with his (foster) daughter? Just more proof that his vengeance has warped his judgment? Exciting but depressing book. Is this the theme: When bad things happen to good people, their reactions ruin their character? What a demoralizing story told in sooooooo maaaaaany wooooords!

message 15: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Hi Joyce and Welcome! lease join us on another read as Rochelle suggests:).

In the period that the book was written, because of the religious beliefs of the time, it was thought that sinners paved their way to hell, so to speak, and were unlikely to be forgiven and/or redeemed. Books like this acted as a warning to those who would stray from the path of virtue:).

message 16: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 24 comments Thanks for your response.

Regarding TCMC, what exactly was Mercedes's sin? I thought she only moved on with her life and married someone else. Is that it? Or did I miss something?

I'm planning to join the end of your new discussions. My memory isn't up to reading at this group's pace, so I'll read the books during your last week.

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