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Le Comte de Mazzara

nouvelle/novella, pub:1866




From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     In the first number of the revised "Mousquetaire," that for November 18th, 1866, which paper followed immediately upon the last issue of its predecessor "Les Nouvelles," Dumas commenced the storyette by the name above. Of this the introduction is in reality one of his delightful "Causeries" - moreover in part a culinary one at that - and assuredly not one to be ignored; here he is to the full the chatty Alexandre we know so well in this method.
     The main story which follows this introduction, and which is stated to be written by Petrucelli della Gattina, shows plain indications of having been over-written by our romancer. Likely enough he was given a rough draft, or possibly only had the story related. At least, though the result is not the Dumas of "La Reine Margot," it is that of him who gave us "Parisiens et Provinciaux," written almost at the same time.
     The story is that of a quite innocent and well-intentioned Sicilian nobleman who is involuntarily cursed with "Jettature," or the evil eye, and a consequent tragical series of "unlucky accidents" which dog his days. Strange to say, Dumas had written another such story many years before, now forming a portion of "Le Corricolo," and the contrast between them, especially in mental approach, is quite interesting to note.
     This work has never been reprinted, and is only to be read in the pages of "Le Mousquetaire" between the dates of November 18th and December 14th 1866. This was rather spoiled by the fact that the Bibliothèque Nationale, from the files of which I had it copied, lacks one number which contained its seventeenth chapter. Some years later, I renewed with Madame la Veuve Henri Mouflier a correspondence I had carried on with her husband long before. I learned that a complete file of Dumas' journal for the first two months was contained in the Musée Dumas at Villers-Cotterets, and Madame Mouflier was good enough to copy for me the previously missing section.

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