Everything You Know About the Squawks
Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge
by Alexandre Dumas
Dumas is all about Courtly Love and Dashing, brave Gallants merrily throwing themselves into death for the love of their king. Consequently, the French Revolution really cramps his style, with their insistence on petty trivialities such as "equality" and "rationality". Nevertheless, Dumas was determined to write a full history of France, in the style of the romance novel, and so he has a series of Marie Antoinette novels. It's odd to read a Dumas novel in which, no matter what happens, the Queen gets killed, and you know that from the start. It's also funny to read a novel that is so anti-revolutionary. I mean, I'm not a fan of bloody, senseless executions and it seems that the French did get more than a little out of hand during the early nineties... but all the same, I'm a republican at heart (pls note small 'r') and I like the idea of discarding "Sir" and "Madam" and "God" and replacing them with "Citizen" and "the Goddess Reason". I mean, I'm against State religion in the first place, I think it's a terribly idea, but if you have to have one you could do worse than the Goddess Reason.

Nonetheless, it is unmistakably Dumas (or one of his warehouse of ghostwriters) and I like it when buckles are swashed. And they are. There's too much talk about "womanly virtues" and the "weakness appropriate to her sex" and all that for it to be an entirely enjoyable novel, but I'm still having fun with it.
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