“TWO-BIT REVIEW” . . . Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini

“When we know all of whatever it may be, we can never do anything but forgive, madame. That is the profoundest religious truth that was ever written.”

Scaramouche 1923 movie poster.jpg

BOOK? . . . Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini (1921)

WHAT KIND? . . . Novel

BE MORE SPECIFIC . . . Historical fiction, Adventure, Romance

ABOUT WHAT? . . . The French Revolution, what else? Andre-Louis Moreau (aka Scaramouche) is the kind of hero that silent movies were made about in Hollywood in the 1920’s. (That was even before the word “movie” was coined—they were called “photoplays” at that time.) There are also villains, swordplay, and beautiful damsels. There is rapier-like wit on the part of Scaramouche himself (he’s really a very clever guy), and his tongue keeps getting him in trouble in situations that would probably blow over if he held his tongue. He’s not the kind of guy to hold his tongue, though, or to make nice to bad guys just to avoid bloodshed. Hence, a very exciting, romantic novel written in stunning prose by Sabatini, who was only half English and spoke several other languages.

SIGNIFICANCE? . . . Nothing deep or significant, except that it does a good job of describing some of the chronology of the French Revolution and the complexity of the class struggle, from maybe a little more conservative point of view than we normally see.

SO SHOULD I READ IT OR WHAT? . . . Yeah, it’s very well written and conceived, the plot is twisty and tangly.

YOU GOT ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD? . . . It would be weird if the novel was translated into French: a French translation of an English novel about the French Revolution?

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