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Reviews (ADR)

from Reviews (ADR)
concerning Sylvandire

     Dumas probably intended this book as a comic novel, set near the end of the reign of Louis XIV, in Paris, covering the period 1706-1717. It is most interesting today because it shows Dumas' first attempt to grapple with themes and plot devices employed with greater success two years later, in the Comte de Monte Cristo.
     Tancrede, the youthful Chevalier d'Augilhelm, impoverished provincial aristocrat, is sent to Paris by his family to sue for the rights to an immense fortune left by a distant relative. He learns that he can win his case only by abandoning his true love, Constance, and by agreeing to marry a woman unknown to him.
     His new wife, Sylvandire, proves to have ambitions at court, and, when thwarted by Tancrede, arranges with an influential courtier to have Tancrede arrested and indefinitely imprisoned. Tancrede becomes #169 in the Bastille, and continually dreams of escape and revenge on his unfaithful wife and her powerful lover.
     Tancrede is eventually released and gains his revenge through clever strategems. He marries Constance, only to be confounded when Sylvandire, now wealthy, powerful, and annoyed, returns to Paris.
     Frequently very amusing, but marred by a misogynist streak and Dumas' tendency to portray women as either saints (like Constance) or monsters (like Sylvandire or Milady de Winter).

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