- The Vicomte de Bragelonne
infobox Book |
name = The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later
title_orig = Le Vicomte de Bragelonne "ou" Dix Ans Plus Tard
author = Alexandre Dumas
language = Translated from French
release_date = French, Serialized
"The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later" ("Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard") is a novel by
Alexandre Dumas, père. It is the third and last of the d'Artagnan Romancesfollowing " The Three Musketeers" and " Twenty Years After". It appeared first in serial form between 1847 and 1850. In the English translations the 268 chapters of this large volume are usually subdivided into three, but sometimes four or even five individual books. In three-volume English editions, the three volumes are titled "The Vicomte de Bragelonne", "Louise de la Vallière", and "The Man in the Iron Mask." Each of these volumes is roughly the length of the original " The Three Musketeers". In four-volume editions, the names of the volumes are kept, except that "Louise de la Vallière" and "The Man in the Iron Mask" are pushed down from second and third to third and fourth, with "Ten Years Later" becoming the second volume. There are usually no volume-specific names in five-volume editions. French academic Jean-Yves Tadiéhas argued that the beginning of King Louis XIV's personal rule is the novel's real subject. [cite book |last=Dumas |first=Alexandre |authorlink=Alexandre Dumas, père |editor= Jean-Yves Tadié|title=Le Vicomte de Bragelonne |year=1997 |publisher=Gallimard |location=Paris |language=French |volume=I |isbn=978-2070400515 ]
Though there are many digressions, the heroes of the novel remain
d'Artagnanand the rest of the original musketeers who find adventure, perform fantastic feats, grow older, and - with one exception - come to the ends of their lives.
The action takes place between
1660and 1667and has as its thematic background the transformation of Louis XIV from a weak boy king dominated by his ministers and mother to the Sun King in absolute control of the French state. Near the beginning of the first part of the novel "The Vicomte de Bragelonne", d'Artagnan, who is no longer captain of musketeers because of Cardinal Jules Mazarin, resigns from the King's service in disgust over the young King's weakness. Louis would like to help Charles II retake the throne of England but allows his prime minister Cardinal Jules Mazarinto talk him out of giving such aid. The novel then shifts its focus to events in England as d'Artagnan--who is trying to make his fortune--and Athos--who is fulfilling the duty that he believes men owe to monarchs--restore Charles II to the English throne. Near the end of the novel, Charles II is restored thanks to Athos and d´Artagnan, Cardinal Mazarin dies and d'Artagnan resumes his role in the service of Louis XIV as captain of musketeers again.
The first part of the novel also introduces the titular hero, young Raoul de Bragelonne. Raoul is the son of Athos, one of the original musketeers, now known as the Comte de la Fère. De Bragelonne is loosely based on a real-life character,
Nicolas de Bragelonne, who was in love with Louise de la Vallière.Fact|date=September 2008 As in the novel, the real-life Louise preferred Louis XIV. Raoul plays a relatively small role in the novel. He spends a small part of his time fighting and much more of his time infatuated with Louise, absent in England, or depressed over being "betrayed" by Louise. Ultimately, he fails to recover from Louise's betrayal and ends his own life with rash behaviour in battle.
Louise de la Vallière", the middle section of the novel, is devoted in large part to romantic events at the court of Louis XIV. To a lesser degree, this portion of the novel shows the efforts of Louis to dominate the nobility by depicting the King's steps to impoverish the powerful superintendent of finance, Nicolas Fouquet. The man who encourages the King in bringing down Fouquet, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, is portrayed as an envious, unscrupulous social climber, clearly showing the author's antipathy towards the character. Towards the end of the novel, however, when Colbert has replaced Fouquet as minister of finance, Dumas, for the sake of historical accuracy, perhaps, mentions (in a dialogue) Colbert's future achievements (building granaries, edifices, cities, and ports; creating a marine, equipping navies; constructing libraries and academies; making France the wealthiest country of the period).
The last section of the novel is famous, in part, for building its plot around Dumas' hypothesis that
the Man in the Iron Maskwas Louis XIV's identical twinbrother. Aramisplots to seize power and save Fouquet from being unfairly destroyed by Louis by replacing Louis with his twin. Aramis entangles the trusting Porthosin his scheme. Aramis and Porthos are forced to flee when Fouquet rescues Louis. Despite Fouquet's rescue, Louis ultimately orders d'Artagnan to arrest Fouquet and to arrest and execute Porthos and Aramis. D'Artagnan considers Fouquet an honourable and honest man and considers it dishonourable to be ordered to arrest his friends. Frustrated and dishonoured, d'Artagnan again resigns from the King's service but, after Louis explains that it is he, the King, who holds power and must run the country, d'Artagnan stays.
Porthos dies at Locmaria when a sudden loss of strength in his legs prevents his escape from the cave he has just brought down with a barrel of gunpowder. He and Aramis have stymied the pursuing King's forces, killing over a hundred men, and very nearly escaped. Aramis finds his way to Spain. Athos dies of grief over his separation from Raoul and Raoul's death. Aramis ultimately turns up as the Spanish ambassador to France and works to ensure the neutrality of Spain in France's campaign against the United Provinces in 1667 (about 5 years after the deaths of Porthos and Athos). D'Artagnan, almost 60 by then, is killed moments after reading the letter making him
Marshal of France, unlike the real life d'Artagnan, who died on March 23, 1673, at the Siege of Maastricht.
The Man in the Iron Mask (film)"
* [http://www.elook.org/literature/dumas/the-vicomte-de-bragelonne/ eLook Literature: The Vicomte de Bragelonne] - HTML version broken down chapter by chapter.
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