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El Salteador

The Brigand

roman/novel, pub:1854, action:1497-1519

Made into a play Le gentilhomme de la montagne.


Oeuvres/Related Works
    The Brigand - Select Library #92, New York, Street & Smith


Images (voyez tous/view all)
    Cover of "The Brigand"
    Cover of The Brigand
    Don Carlos


From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     El Salteador is a historical romance set in Spain in 1519, one of several products (along with Le Bâtard de Mauléon of Alexandre Dumas' visit to Spain in 1845. The book dates from the period of Dumas' greatest fame and productivity, when Dumas produced the canon of historical romances for which he is best known today. El Salteador mixes fascinating historical vignettes and vivid travel writing with swordplay and melodrama. While the travel and history are first rate, the melodrama has not aged gracefully, both in its own terms and by comparison with other works by Dumas.
     The novel opens with an elderly Spanish nobleman, Don Inigo, a former compatriot of Christopher Columbus, and his beautiful daughter, Dona Flora, traveling through the mountains from Malaga to Grenada, waylaid by a troupe of brigands.
     The bandit chief, known only by the title "El Salteador," struck by the beauty of Dona Flora, and the dignity of Don Inigo, releases them undespoiled. The true name of the brigand is Don Fernando, son of a great nobleman, Don Ruis, whom, naturally, is an old comrade-in-arms to Don Inigo. Don Fernando killed a man in a duel, (over a woman), killed several soldiers sent to arrest him, and found it expedient to flee.
     Don Fernando has no sooner released Don Inigo and his daughter when a troupe of soldiers attacks the brigands, who disperse. Don Fernando escapes the soldiers and an attempt to burn him out by forest fire with the aid of a beautiful gypsy ("Bohemian" in the translation) girl, Ginesta.
     The action shifts to Grenada, where Spain's new king, Carlos, has just assumed the crown from his long-dead father, Philip. Carlos' mother, Joanna the Mad, insisted that Philip was still alive, and for twelve years refused to bury the body. Don Ruis petitions the King for pardon for his wayward son, and is summarily refused. Don Inigo is appointed Chief Justice for Andalucia, and also petitions a pardon for Don Fernando, and is also refused.
     But then Ginesta turns up with evidence showing that she is Carlos' illegitimate half-sister. In return for agreeing to enter a convent and renouncing her proofs of parentage, Carlos pardons Don Fernando.
     Don Fernando returns to the bosom of his family for about a half hour before he becomes embroiled in a duel with another young noble, Don Ramiro over Dona Flora. Don Ruis appears, and demands that his son put up his sword. Don Fernando knocks down his father, wounds Don Ramiro, and flees. Trapped by the king's guards, he kills or wounds eight or ten soldiers before Don Inigo arrives and persuades Don Fernando to surrender to the King's justice.
     Dumas pulls all the threads together in an implausible last chapter, in which the tangled relationships among the major characters are at last revealed, and King Carlos is proclaimed the Holy Roman Emperor.

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
    A story of the youth of the Emperor Charles V. The scene is Spain, the period 1497-1519, mainly the last of these years. The historical culmination is the election of Charles to the Empire.
    It is unlikely that Dumas had any collaborator for this work ; it may well have been in his mind since the Spanish journey. Whether that is so or not, it would perhaps have gained by being revolved in that brain for a somewhat longer period. There is excellent material here, but less well treated than one would expect, in fact the drama later drawn from it, called "Le Gentilhomme de la Montagne," is distinctly an improvement (see page 379). Likely enough Dumas, in urgent need of a romance with which to fill the pages of "Le Mousquetaire," as we know was the case, felt compelled to use this before he was actually ready.
    It first ran as a serial in "Le Mousquetaire."
    Original edition : Paris, Cadot, 3 vols., 8vo., 1854. Pagination : 313, 399, 333, each with an additional table of contents. The last volume, from page 269, is completed with "Les Étoiles Commis-Voyageurs" (see page 311).
    First illustrated edition : Paris, Dufour et Mulat et Boulanger, large 8vo., with five engravings, 1857.
    It fills one volume in the standard Calmann-Lévy edition, and one in their "Musée Littéraire." In the same firm's illustrated series it fills (with "Les Compagnons de Jehu") two volumes.
    In Le Vasseur's "Alexandre Dumas Illustré" its position is in Vol. XI.
    Dumas offered the MS. to any subscriber for 100 francs, in aid of a charity. Three offered; the name of the successful person was not stated.

        References :—
    Glinel: "A. Dumas et Son Œuvre," pp. 434-35.
    Parran: "Bibliographie d'Alex. Dumas," pp. 62-63.
    Dumas: "Le Mousquetaire," January 11th and 17th and February 4th, 1854.

        English Translations :—
    "The Brigand" (with "Blanche de Beaulieu"); London, Dent, 1 vol., illustrated, cr. 8vo., 1897. Reprinted, same firm (with "The Horoscope" but without "Blanche de Beaulieu"), 1907 and 1926.


From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
    LA CHANSON DU ROI DON FERNAND. (CLXXXVIII.)
    Four regular seven-line stanzas, rhyming a, a, b, c, c, c, b. A pretty little piece, probably adapted from a Spanish ballad.
    First appeared in "Le Mousquetaire" for February 5th, 1854, forming' part of the first chapter of the romance "El Salteador."
    The first stanza alone was also sung in the drama drawn from this romance : "Le Gentilhomme de la Montagne," Act I., Tab. II., Scene ii.


From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
    OTHER VERSE OCCURRING IN "EL SALTEADOR" OR ITS DRAMA.
    (CLXXXIX.) CHANT DE GENESTA. A verse of eight lines, rhyming a, b, a, b, a, b, c, c. It appeared in Chapter V. of the romance, and in Act 1., Tableau II., Scene iv., and again in Act I-, Tableau III., Scene iv. of the drama.
    (CXC.) SERENADE. Act IV., Tableau VI., Scene ii. Thirty-four lines by a singer, variously rhymed, with six additional lines, rhyming a, b, b, a, c, c, sung three times at intervals amid the solo parts by a chorus ; finally one concluding verse of four lines, rhyming in couplets, also sung by the chorus. Thus a total of forty-four lines.
    This serenade does not occur in the romance.

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