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La Route de Varennes

The Flight to Varennes

voyage/travel, pub:1860, action:1791

About Louis XVI's flight to Varennes in 1791.

First published in Le Monte Cristo.

Images (voyez tous/view all)
    Portrait de Louis XVI

From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     In the summer of 1791, King Louis XVI, still clinging to his crown but a near prisoner in the Tuileries, resolved to escape from France, together with his family. His attempt failed when the royal family was detained by the muncipal Government of the town of Varennes, only a few miles from the border. For an instant, the fate of Europe rested on the decision of a grocer summoned from his bed. For, as Dumas writes: "Had Louis XVI not attempted to fly, or had he attempted it and succeeded, quite other events would have followed in place of those which actually transpired. There would have been no civil war, no war against neighboring states, no September 2nd, no Terror, no Bonaparte, no Elba, no Waterloo, no St. Helena."
     Dumas wrote about Louis' abortive flight in his 1855 historical novel, La Comtesse de Charny and subsequently learned that his account contained several errors. In the summer of 1856, Dumas chartered a coach, and retraced the Louis XVI's route, interviewing surviving eye-witnesses, studying the ground, and re-reading memoirs and histories. From this material, Dumas fashioned a short (circa 100 pages in the English translation) but gripping account of the royal family's flight and return to Paris as prisoners.
     Dumas would subsequently re-use the material gathered at Varennes in his unfinished novel Le Volontaire de '92.
     Dumas scholar A. Craig Bell has translated this work into English, published by the Alston Press in Britain, and available through www.amazon.co.uk.

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A picturesque, accurate and interesting account of a journey made by Dumas over the road from Paris to Varennes, following step by step the flight of the royal family in 1791. Maxime du Camp states that it was the one thoroughly reliable narrative extant when he wrote. (1).
     (1) Dumas made one error by following the account of one narrator while thinking it was another. This cost him damages in a law-suit. Paul Bocage accompanied him on the journey, but is not credited with having aided the work,
     First appeared in "Le Monte-Cristo," from January 28th to April 22nd, 1858.
     Original edition : Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 1 vol., 12mo., 1860.
     It now forms one volume in the standard Calmann-Lévy edition, and one in their "Musée Littéraire."
     In Le Vasseur's "Alexandre Dumas Illustré" it forms part of Vol. XVIII.

         References :—
     Maxime du Camp: "Souvenirs Littéraires." In the English Translation, Vol. II., pp. 188-89.
     Glinel: "Alex, Dumas et Sou Œuvre," page 450.
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'Alex. Dumas," page 67.

         English Translation :—
     By Mr. R. S. Garnett in "The Golden Book Magazine" (U.S.A.) for the months of March, April, May and June, 1930, as "The Flight to Varennes."

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