June 4, 2005 in Nation/World

Dumas novel published, 135 years after his death

Sophie Nicholson Associated Press
 

PARIS – An unfinished novel of “The Three Musketeers” author Alexandre Dumas, an adventure story set in revolutionary France, was published for the first time as a book on Friday, following its rediscovery by a French scholar.

“Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine,” or “The Knight of Sainte-Hermine,” was part of Dumas’ efforts to use literature to document French history, said Claude Schopp.

The book, set at the start of the Napoleonic era, fits into a series of novels by the French writer that included his famed “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Schopp said the novel tells the story of an aristocrat divided between his royalist ambitions and his fascination for Napoleon.

The Parisian scholar said he rediscovered the novel after he came across a letter 10 years ago in which Dumas mentioned “Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine.”

“It’s amazing. What thrilled me was that the novel corresponded to the missing work in Dumas’ history,” he said in a telephone interview.

Schopp found that Dumas’ text had been published in installments over nine months in a newspaper in 1869, the year before Dumas’ death.

Schopp put the installments together and corrected grammatical and spelling mistakes. He also added 2 1/2 chapters to finish the last episode in the book, published Friday by Phebus.

However, the novel is still incomplete, according to an overall plan that Schopp also found 10 years ago.

“I’m going to propose to write the whole novel,” said Schopp, 61, who has already written four novels.

“I’m not Dumas but, if I’m still alive, I plan to write it next year.”

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