THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Rare first complete English edition of the classic swashbuckling adventure.
Very good plus.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
"True," replied d'Artagnan, "I have not the dress, but I have the heart and soul of a musketeer: I feel it, sir, and it impels me along, as it were, by force."
First published in Paris in 1844, THE THREE MUSKETEERS appeared in England soon thereafter in a variety of shortened and serialized adaptations. Barrow's version, published as part of the Library of Foreign Romance series, was not only the first complete English translation and the most widely read, but among the best for a century and more, with verve and a charming touch of literalism. It must be admitted that neither the literalism nor the completeness is altogether absolute: as the Translator's Preface takes care to reassure its readers, a translation from the French that left nothing at all to the imagination would "pander to profligacy," sullied by those traces of objectionable matter so enticing to Continental sensibilities and so morally objectionable to "those of our fair countrywomen who have not lost the delicacy which is the most endearing of their national charms"; those traces have therefore been safely omitted. What remains does very well.
The novel has been the subject of three centuries' worth of dramatic adaptations: from the opera produced in Dumas's lifetime, to a Wodehouse-authored broadway musical, to the 1973 Oliver Reed/Michael York costume extravaganza beloved of middle-school substitute French teachers, to 2009's Barbie and the Three Musketeers. None of these tributes have ever eclipsed the original, which lives and flourishes not by its historical intrigues or even its immortal characters, but by its high spirits, joie de vivre, and dashing style.
Read more: Frank Reed, A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas Père; Douglas Munro, Alexandre Dumas Père: A Bibliography of Works Translated into English to 1910, 80-1.
First English language edition. London: Bruce and Wyld, 1846. Full title: The three musketeers; or, the feats and fortunes of a Gascon adventurer. By Alexander Dumas. Translated from the French, by William Barrow, A.M. 7.25'' x 4.75''. Contemporary half brown calf with marbled boards, sympathetically rebacked with original spine laid down. Gilt-lettered burgundy morocco spine label. Translated from the French by William Barrow. Without the additional Library of Foreign Romance series title page, matching Munro 80. Translator's preface bound before Preface to The Library of Foreign Romance. 687,  pages. Contemporary ink owner name to front free endpaper, dated 1851. Moderate wear and rubbing to boards, with small indentation to spine. Very slight scattered foxing. Housed in elaborate custom inlaid morocco clamshell case, lined in scarlet wool.
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