The count of Monte Cristo


Last December I bought several Wordworth Classics books. After a couple of months’ break I’m continuing their reading. I must admit that I have abandoned “The Idiot” by Dostoievsky around page two hundred and something; honestly speaking, I can’t read it for the time being, it bores me to death. Furthermore, I had Edmond Dantés waiting for me, calling me like a siren, and I couldn’t wait longer to read Dumas’ masterpiece for the third time, the first in English. One of my favourite passages is Edmond’s visit to the barber shop in Livorno, and the description of his transformation under his scissors. The comparison between the memories he had of his own face when he was imprisioned, at nineteen and what he sees now reflected in the small mirror in the shop, a man of thirty-three, is a master piece of literature. It’s impossible for me not to renew my endless devotion for Edmond after reading this.

This was now all changed. The oval face was lengthened, his smiling mouth had assumed the firm and marked lines which betoken resolution; his eyebrows were arched beneath a brow furrowed with thought; his eyes were full of melancholy, and from their depths occasionally sparkled gloomy fires of misanthropy and hatred; his complexion, so long kept from the sun, had now that pale colour which produces, when the features are encircled with black hair, the aristocratic beauty of the man of the north; the profound learning he had acquired had besides diffused over his features a refined intellectual expression; and he had also acquired, being naturally of a goodly stature, that vigour which a frame possesses which has so long concentrated all its force within himself.

To the elegance of a nervous and slight form had succeeded the solidity of a rounded and muscular figure. As to his voice, prayers, sobs, and imprecations had changed it so that at times it was of a singular penetrating sweetness, and at other rough and almost hoarse.


Edmond smiled when he beheld himself: it was impossible that his best friend — if indeed, he had any friend left — could recognise him; he could not recognise himself.

Undoubtedly 2002 film version of the novel by Kevin Reynolds had many “buts”. Not Jim Caveziel’s Edmond Dantés, who definitely has been the best looking Monte Cristo on screen so far.

6 thoughts on “The count of Monte Cristo

  1. Ooh, lovely passage. I admit I have never been able to get through Dostoyevsky either, but I don’t worry about it too much. Dumas is superior IMO 🙂 Intrigued by the Ford Madox Ford, too!

    1. Frankly speaking, I don’t know why I bought this book, since I got through Crime & Punishment and the Karamazov Brothers with much fatigue 🙂
      Dumas is great, even the so-called minor passages of the book, such as the Carnival in Rome, are delightful.
      I’ve bought the Madox for the adaptation of that book (the tv series is awesome), I don’t know if I will regret it or not

      1. Ah, the FMF book caught my eye because I’m interested in that time period of WWI. I haven’t read “The Good Soldier” but they say that’s his masterpiece.

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