Saturday, July 08, 2017

Camille: The Lady of the Camellias

Camille. Alexandre Dumas, fils. 1848. Translated by Edmund Gosse. 254 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: In my opinion, it is impossible to create characters until one has spent a long time studying men, as it is impossible to speak a language until it has been seriously acquired.

Premise/plot: The narrator learns of the death of a famous Parisian courtesan, Marguerite Gautier, and decides to attend her estate sale where he purchases a book with a personal dedication. Some time later, he meets a young man named Armand Duval, Marguerite's lover, who asks for the book back. The narrator is happy to comply, and the two become friends. The narrator learns the whole story of their passionate but tragic love story directly from him.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one very much. If one can "enjoy" a tragic love story. It reminded me very much of the musical Moulin Rouge. (Except I think it was a lot less flashy.) The heroine was based on a real person who died about a year before this book was published. The author, I believe, was one of the men madly in love with this celebrity courtesan. (Her name was changed for the book. The name of the real courtesan was Marie Duplessis.) This heroine has been the subject of plays, movies, and operas. Verdi was inspired by Dumas' play and book to write La traviata.

Favorite quotes:
I must tell you the whole story; you will make a book out of it; no one will believe it, but it will perhaps be interesting to do.
How many ways does the heart take, how many reasons does it invent for itself, in order to arrive at what it wants.
The story of Marguerite is an exception, I repeat had it not been an exception, it would not have been worth the trouble of writing it.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Mel u said...

It has been a, long time since I read Dumas, I loved his books in my teens.

Michele Morin said...

Thanks for this review. I've never read anything by Dumas, but I really appreciated your sharing some good quotes. (I'm a quote collector, too!)

Tamara said...

I am not a natural reader.. and classics like this appear challenging. Yet your description makes this seem so easy to read. Im definitley interested in Dumas and appreciated your review. Thanks for posting for Paris in July.