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Parisiens et provinciaux

Parisians and Provinsials

roman/novel, pub:1868, action:1846




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From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     Parisiens and Provinciaux is a short, lively, and good humoured novel, set in Paris and Villers-Cotterêts, in which Dumas pokes some affectionate fun at bourgeois and peasants alike by planting a stuffy Parisian bourgeois and his household in the countryside with a round lot of shrewd, sharp-dealing peasants.
     M. Peluche, Parisian, bourgeois, royalist, a successful manufacturer of artificial flowers, travels to Villers Cotterets with his teenaged daughter, Camille, to visit his old school friend Madeleine. M. Madeleine, the very picture of unbourgeois irresponsibility, has somehow made his fortune, retired to the country, and invites Peluche to go hunting with him. En route, Peluche is persuaded to purchase (for an enormous sum) the hunting dog from hell, one Figaro, whose character Dumas borrowed from a dog he described in Histoire de mes bêtes.
     Peluche experiences a series of comic misadventures while hunting with Madeleine and Figaro, which nearly cost him his life.
     Camille meets a wealthy young nobleman, Henri, Comte de Noroy, whom, it transpires, is somehow Madeleine's godson, and they fall in love. However, the couple have to overcome a series of obstacles and plot twists: Peluche objects to aristocrats, Peluche's wife suspects fraud; Henri loses his fortune and decides to emigrate to South America. Love and Madeleine's ingenuity overcome the obstacles, and everyone lives happily ever after.
     According to a reference in Chapter 1, Parisiens et Provinciaux was begun by Dumas in Naples circa 1862, but was not published until 1866, when it appeared as a serial in La Presse. It is the fourth (and last) of Dumas' naturalistic "pastoral" novels, set in part in Dumas' old home village of Villers-Cotterêts. (The others are Conscience l'innocent, Catherine Blum, and Le Meneur de loups). An English translation by A. Craig Bell was published in 1995 by Karnak House.

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A story of hunting and of family life, in the earlier portions of which De Cherville had a considerable share, though Dumas completed it alone. There are references to Monte Video, with the history of which, we know, Dumas was very conversant. (See page 262.) The period is about the 1840's.
     It was actually written earlier, in 1864, when it ran through the pages of the political journal "La Presse."
     Original edition : Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 2 vols., 1868.
     It now tills two volumes in the standard Calmann-Lévy edition, probably simply a reprint of the above.
     In Le Vasseur's "Alexandre Dumas Illustré" it forms part of Vol. XVIII.

         References :—
     Pifteau: "Alexandre Dumas en Manches de Chemise," pp. 51 and 69. (Pifteau is, however, not correct in ascribing all the earlier part to De Cherville alone; Dumas' hand is quite apparent.)
     Thieme: "Guide Bibliographique " (1907). This gives the original date, erroneously, as 1870.

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