"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's always been a favorite

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas has been a favorite of mine since adolescence. (And no, it's not pronounced "dumb ass," it's said like "doo-maw".) It was about time I read it again, and it was even more poignant than I remembered it.

First, I want to get the small annoyances out of the way before focusing on the really good stuff:

1) I don't speak French, and I really wish I did. Perhaps I can learn French while I'm at work. It would have been optimal to read this novel in its original form because each English translation seems to be a little different from its comrades, which I know isn't unusual in foreign literature. I only noticed significant differences because this is a novel I am familiar with, and not a first-time read. However, I was a bit miffed at the Barnes and Noble Classics version...not a fan.

2) I find the chivalrous "gentleman with lifetimes of learning" attitude condescending and sexist. I can usually get over that in older novels when such attitudes were prevalent in society, but for some reason, it bothered me a lot this time. It's probably because this book has always been a favorite and I thought it was better than that. That shows you how long it's been since I've read it, doesn't it?

Now to the good stuff: literary themes!
  • A person is never quits with someone who did them a favor because one always will owe gratitude
  • God's place to punish and reward, and the perverted way people justify themselves in such omnipotent situations...Satan, anyone?
  • Taking the place of Providence
  • The idea that Gods never do evil; duality of powerful presences
  • "Truly generous men are always ready to become sympathetic when their enemy's misfortunes surpass the limits of their hatred"; can you really hate someone that much?
 This book is a classic for a reason, and I think it has some strong moral statements against hatred and revenge, which means that not only do I like this book, but my mom likes it as well. That's a winner if ever there was one!

Happy reading,

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