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La Main droite du Sire de Giac: 1425-1426

conte/short story, pub:1836, action:1425-1426




From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     A short historical romance, set mostly in the exiled Court of Charles VII (1403-1461), the same period as Dumas' play, Charles VII chez ses grands vassaux, a low point in French history. England's Henry V’s "band of brothers" annihilated the French nobility at the Battle of Agincourt, and subsequently united the French and English crowns. The Valois pretender, Charles VII, wandered from the household of one baron to another, periodically harried by his opponents, until, with the aid of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) he seized Orleans and eventually became undisputed ruler of France.
     F. W. Reed indicates that this story is sequel to an earlier story Le Sire de Giac, in which the Sire de Giac commits various crimes. The story was first published in the magazine Revue des Deux Mondes.
     The hero of this sketch is Arthur de Richemont (1393-1458), Duke of Brittany and Constable of France. Arthur is besieging the English in the Castle de Saint-James in Normandy, but his troops have gone unpaid, due to Charles VII failure to deliver promised funds. Arthur leads an assault on the Castle, which fails with great loss of life, and his entire Army deserts, leaving him alone on the field. Arthur repairs to Bourges, where Charles VII is holding court, and learns that his money has been squandered by the King's favorite, the Sire de Giac. Under his authority as Constable, Arthur orders the Sire arrested and condemned to death.
     The Sire recounts various hidden crimes to his confessor, and tells him that he has been able to escape justice on account of having traded his right hand to Satan. The confessor says that God can forgive all sins, except this, and that if the Sire comes before God with Satan's arm, he is surely damned. When the executioner arrives, axe in hand, the Sire makes a deal. The story closes with these words:
     "Now," said Giac to him, marching up and showing the Priest the bleeding stump of his arm, "you can give me absolution, I have no right hand."

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     This short historical chronicle-story, quite readable, is the continuation of the portion in "Isabel de Bavière" devoted to the adventures of the Sire de Giac. Dumas classed it among his "Scenes Historiques."
     It first appeared in the "Dodecaton," Vol. II., one of those miscellanies then so frequently issued. Paris, Magen, 2 vols., 8vo., 1836. Dumas' story occupied pp. 155 to 224.
     It next serves to fill the concluding pages of "Le Capitaine Paul," original edition; Paris, Dumont, 1838, 2 vols., 8vo.
     In 1846 it was again one of the short stories used to fill out the second volume of "L'Abbaye de Peysac," the fourth and concluding portion of "La Guerre des Femmes" (in its original form).
     The current standard Calmann-Lévy edition of Dumas' works include it in the volume entitled "Les Hommes de Fer." (Refer to this under date of 1867, p. 423.)
     In the same firm's Illustrated Edition it is one of the stories added to the volume which contains the "Souvenirs d 'Antony,"
     In Le Vasseur's "Alexandre Dumas Illustré" it is found in Vol. VIII,

         References :—
     Quérard: "Supercheries Littéraires Dévoilées," Vol. I., Column 1095.
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'A. Dumas," page 42.
     Monstrelet: "Chroniques," Chapter GGX.

         English Translations :—
     As "The King's Favourite," it is one of the short stories included in "The Convict's Son;" London, Methuen, 1905, sewed.
     The same edition was reprinted, also by Methuen, small 8vo 1922.

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