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Histoire de mes bêtes

Adventures with My Pets

non-fiction, pub:1868

Dumas chatting with his pets and servants, with some autobiographical episodes.


Oeuvres/Related Works
    Dumas père, Alexandre: My Pets - New York, The Macmillan Company, 1909


Images (voyez tous/view all)
    Catinat leapt at my throat as if he wanted to strangle me.
    Frontispiece
    I caught my victim by one paw
    I imagined Monsieur would like me to be handsomely dressed.
    I let fly with my switch full tilt at Jugurtha.
    In his jaws he held a cutlet he had just filched from the gridiron.
    Mademoiselle Desgarcius opens the soda water bottle
    Mouton was mangling my hand
    Mysouff used to dance about my legs like a dog.
    Pritchard had collapsed on the ground.
    Pritchard looked at me sadly and lovingly … and died.
    Pritchard walked in proudly, holding in his jaws a magnificent great hare.
    Suddenly Pritchard gave a leap.
    The dog gave a spring and seized the lad by the pocket of his jacket.
    The dog had a sugar-basin on his nose like a muzzle.
    The horse hung suspended over the precipice.


From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     Dumas started Histoire de mes bêtes as a series of 28 columns in his newspaper, Le Mousquetaire, which he published in Paris after his return, financially refreshed, from Brussels in 1854. When the Le Mousquetaire folded, he dropped the topic of animals for a decade, and then returned to it, writing a second set of 15 pieces for a new journal in 1864. The two sets of columns were collected into a single work and published in book form in 1867.
     The style of the work is light and conversational. Dumas successfully creates the illusion that he parked on a sofa next to the reader and is telling a funny story. The 1855 chapters tend to be thin: Dumas was clearly stretching a single comic idea across two or three issues of the paper, but remains amusing: the literary equivalent of a snack food. Most of the events described took place in 1845-1852, when Dumas was at the height of his success, and was building his folly, the Chateau de Monte Cristo in the country. While several animals wander through the book, notably the vulture Jugurtha, two monkeys, and a blue macaw, the principal hero of the book is a dog, the Scottish pointer Pritchard, who combines high intelligence with a marked propensity for theft. The stories about Pritchard give the book a striking degree of unity, despite being composed in two parts.
     The 1960 Chilton translation by A. Craig Bell omits the last two chapters, because Mr. Bell felt they were anticlimactic. There is apparently a 1909 Methuen translation, which (for reasons of contemporary English taste) omitted an extended joke in Chapter 41, titled "A Natural History into the Origins of the Peculiar Fashion of Greeting Among Dogs."

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A series of delightful, though somewhat disconnected chapters on Dumas' pets of all kinds, on hunting, travel and other experiences, details about his books, his friends, his servants, and many other things, They are in fact glorified "Causeries" in his best vein, strung together, and indeed their first appearance was under such a designation, at least as far as the earlier portions were concerned.
     Thus the first twenty-eight chapters appeared in the original "Mousquetaire" as "Causeries avec Mes Lecteurs à propos d'un Chien, de Deux Coqs et de Onze Poules." (October 29th to November 29th, 1855.)
     Next a portion of the same appeared in "Les Nouvelles," apparently after it had come into Dumas' possession. He at least promised some more to the subscribers to "Le D'Artagnan," but whether they were given, remains to he determined.
     Original edition: Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 1 vol., 18mo., 1868. (1)
     (1) As early as 1859 the "Collection Hetzel" (Alph. Durr) was already advertising as published 2 vols. of "Histoire de Mes Bêtes." Was this the complete work? If so, it was obviously the original edition.
     This work now occupies one volume in the standard Calmann-Lévy edition.
     The same firm has issued an illustrated edition, with eleven plates and a fine portrait of the author, and also numerous woodcuts in the text : Paris, Calmann-Lévy (1878).

         References :—
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'Alexandre Dumas," page 69.
     Glinel: "Alexandre Dumas et Son Œuvre," page 475.
     Dumas: "Causerie" in "Le Mousquetaire" for the 30th of October, 1855, forming a preface to the "Histoire de Mes Bêtes."

         English Translation :—
     "My Pets;" London, Methuen, 1909, with illustrations.

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