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Georges

Cover of Georges

Georges

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A major new translation of a stunning rediscovered novel by Alexandre Dumas, Georges is a classic swashbuckling adventure. Brilliantly translated by Tina A. Kover in lively, fluid prose, this is...More
A major new translation of a stunning rediscovered novel by Alexandre Dumas, Georges is a classic swashbuckling adventure. Brilliantly translated by Tina A. Kover in lively, fluid prose, this is...More
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Description-
  • A major new translation of a stunning rediscovered novel by Alexandre Dumas, Georges is a classic swashbuckling adventure. Brilliantly translated by Tina A. Kover in lively, fluid prose, this is Dumas's most daring work, in which his themes of intrigue and romance are illuminated by the issues of racial prejudice and the profound quest for identity.

    Georges Munier is a sensitive boy growing up in the nineteenth century on the island of Mauritius. The son of a wealthy mulatto, Pierre Munier, Georges regularly sees how his father's courage is tempered by a sense of inferiority before whites--and Georges vows that he will be different.

    When Georges matures into a man committed to "moral superiority mixed with physical strength," the stage is set for a conflict with the island's rich and powerful plantation owner, Monsieur de Malmédie, and a forbidden romance with Sara, the beautiful woman engaged to Malmédie's son.

    Swordplay, a slave rebellion, a harrowing escape, and a vow of vengeance--Georges is unmistakably the work of the master who wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Yet it stands apart as the only book Dumas ever wrote that confronts the subject of race--a potent topic, since Dumas was of African ancestry himself.

    This edition also features a captivating Introduction by Jamaica Kincaid and an eloquent Afterword and Notes by Werner Sollors, who addresses key themes such as colonialism, racism, African slavery, and interracial intimacy.

    Long out of print in America, Georges can now be appreciated as never before and added to the greatest works of this immortal author.

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    iL'iˆle de France

    Have you ever, on a long, cold, melancholy winter night--alone with your thoughts and the wind whistling through the hallways, the rain pounding against the windows--have you ever leaned your forehead against the mantel, absently watching sparks dance on the hearth, and longed to flee our wet and muddy Paris for some enchanted oasis? Somewhere fresh and carpeted in green, where you could lie in the shade of a riverside palm tree and doze off without a care in the world?

    Well, the paradise of your dreams exists! Eden awaits you; the water flows clear and bright there, falling and surging up in bright dust; the palm fronds wave gently in the soft sea breeze like feathers in a genie's cap. The jambosa trees, laden with iridescent fruit, stand ready to offer you their sweetly scented shade. Come, follow me now.

    Let us make for Brest, warlike sister of bustling Marseille, standing sentinel over the waves. Choose a vessel from the hundreds anchored in its port--perhaps a brigantine, long-masted, lean, and light-sailed, fit even for the hardy pirates dreamed up by Walter Scott, that romantic poet of the waves. It's early September, the perfect time to begin a long voyage. Let us board our chosen ship and leave summer behind in our quest for spring! Adieu, Brest, Nantes, Bayonne--adieu, France!

    See there, on our right, that granite peak towering ten thousand feet into the clouds? Look, in such transparent water even its mighty roots are visible. It is Tenerife, the ancient Nivaria, rendezvous point for the eagles that swoop and glide around its crest, looking as small as doves from this great distance. This, however, is not our destination; it's simply a stray bit of Spain, and I've promised you the garden of the world.

    Look, on the left--that barren rock, burning in the tropical sun? Our modern Prometheus spent six years chained there. England chose that wasted islet to erect a monument to its own shame, to the stake where Joan of Arc burned and the scaffold where Mary Stuart died. It is a political Golgotha, and for eighteen years it was the pious rendezvous point where all ships converged. But--enough of the regicide St. Helena, we will have nothing more to do with her, now that the martyr is gone.

    We've reached the Cape of Storms now. See the towering peak in front of us, its summit lost in the mists? This is the giant Adamastor, who appeared to the author of The Lusiads. It marks the very end of the earth--the prow of that great green vessel on which we are all passengers. How the waves crash with furious impotence against its rocky face! It is impervious, invincible, forever anchored here in the port of eternity with God himself as captain. Let us keep on. Beyond these verdant mountains lies nothing but barren stone and sun-scorched desert. I promised you pure water, gentle shade, succulent fruit, and radiant blooms, did I not?

    Ah, the westerly wind has finally brought us to our destination--the Indian Ocean, theater of the Arabian Nights! There is grim Mont Bourbon, with its sulfurous, eternally flaming volcano. Spare a glance at its fiery maw and smell its fumes. Just a few knots more now; we pass between île Plate and Coin-de-Mire and round pointe aux Cannoniers, and we drop anchor at last. Our trusty brigantine has earned a rest. We have arrived! This is the blessed island itself, hidden away in this far-flung corner of the world like some virginal maiden whose mother jealously guards her beauty from covetous suitors' eyes. This is the Promised Land--the pearl of the Indian Ocean. This is île de France.

    Now, chaste daughter of the seas, twin sister of Bourbon, blessed rival of Ceylon,...

About the Author-
  • Alexandre Dumas (1802-70), one of the most popular writers of all time, is the author of The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and The Knight of Maison-Rouge (all available from the Modern Library), along with dozens of other works of every genre. His remains were recently removed to the Pantheon, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a French writer.

    Tina A. Kover has worked as a translator in the United States and Europe for more than ten years. Her first literary translation, George Sand's The Black City, was published in 2004.

    Werner Sollors teaches African American studies, English, and comparative literature at Harvard University. He is the author of Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture and Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature and editor of Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader; The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans as Told by Themselves and An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New.

    Jamaica Kincaid is the acclaimed author of many books, including Annie John, A Small Place, and Lucy. She lives in Vermont.

    From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews-
  • Adrienne Kennedy, author of Funnyhouse of a Negro

    "Georges is an illuminating, instructive, and enduring blueprint of racial conflict and strife, as compelling and relevant today as it was back in the 1840s, when it was first published."

  • David Bradley, author of The Chaneysville Incident "I know this is a novel of great historical and cultural significance and that it explores complex issues of race and colonialism and all, but what matters to a guy like me is, it's a hell of a read. Sea battles and land battles, a steamy setting and hot-blooded gallantries, ancient enmities and sweet revenge, forbidden love, insults and duels, bravado and bravery and redemption, hot pursuit and desperate flight and crushing captures and daring escapes. What a story! And Kover's translation lets all the lushness and the romance and the passion come through with cinematic clarity."
  • Rudolph P. Byrd, Emory University "A remarkable discovery that expands the corpus of Alexandre Dumas. Rendered in beautiful language, this is a tale that transports us to a time and place that still speaks to us in our present circumstances. We are indebted to Werner Sollors and Jamaica Kincaid for their framing documents that provide us with a critical lens for the journey Dumas has created for us out of his own generous and expansive imagination."
  • Barbara T. Cooper, professor of French, University of New Hampshire "A brilliant example of the French Romantic novel, far too infrequently read and . . . deserving of a broader audience."
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