Monday, May 13, 2013

Dumas Faux Pas

Pronounced:  [doo-mah foh pah]

Here I stand, corrected.  (All shamed-up and humilified!)

It all began in a hotel in New York City.  Popular culture suggests that most things begin within the confines of an NYC hotel room, so, naturally, one would think that I too would have a story to tell, which begins within the confines of an NYC hotel room.

Megan, Jessica, and I were chatting.  Eventually, our chats lead to a lengthy discussion of books, and what books should be on our own "must read" list.  There was plenty of agreeing, some disagreeing, and a whole bunch of "I never read that one!" from me.  (I ain't all that well-read.)  We also googled a fair amount of lists to compare the selections of others to our own picks.  It was quite a conversion.

I took notes.  I plan to knock off some of those books so as to become as well-read as Megan and Jessica.

One of the books on this list was Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.  I started that one last week.  Whenever I start a book, it's customary for me to read the intro and author biography.  Orientation is critical.  While reading the author biography on Mr. Verne, I was taken unawares and shouted a "no way!" at the following excerpt:

"Through family connections, he entered Parisian literary circles and met many of the distinguished writers of the day.  Inspired in particular by novelists Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Verne began writing his own works."

Now.  I read that and shouted a "no way!" because, to me, listing "Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son)" means that Victor and Alexandre are father and son.  Does it not?  I was so excited to spread this news that I told everyone.  And then I posted it here, and Arizona Megan called her entire family and told them.

Well, the reference to father and son doesn't mean Vicky and Alex are father and son.  No, it doesn't.  This particular "father and son" references Alexandre Dumas I, and Alexandre Dumas II.  Turns out that Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers) had a son with the same name, who wrote stories Faux his Pas and Faux others.

So here I am, standing corrected.  (All shamed-up and humilified.)

Here's where I got into trouble:  It was in print!  And in a Barnes 'n Noble classics print, no less!  It must be correct and true!  And I must have read it and interpreted it correctly because I'm smart 'n stuff! Right....?  Right...?

I'm a sucker for anything in print.  I'll believe anything in print.  Printed stuff has editors and publishers to keep it all solid, right?  If I had read that somewhere on the internet, I would have checked twelve sources before believing.  And, most certainly, I would have checked two more sources before leading you all astray.

Please accept my apologizes.

(For the record... Spouse read the bio, made the same inference, and he's smarter than I am.  So there.  Spouse also gets credit for the title.)


Jessica said...

I would've (and did) read that "father and son" thing in the exact same way.

also, I think you win in the "well read" department. Lately I've been watching excessive amounts of television and not reading anything in print. It's pathetic.

radracer said...

I would have jumped to the same conclusion.

Apparently I'm not very well read either, or I would have known about such things and not jumped to erroneous conclusions.

megan said...

This just keeps getting better and better!! I love it...

My family's response...
Older Brother: "well at least you have assonance down..."

Dad: copied & forwarded the entire wikipedia article on Dumas...I think he missed the point :)

Then older brother recommended two wonderful inspiring books to add to the book list (I think they were more for me -in jest --I hope) but I shall share with you...

Isn't all this sharing wonderful??!!

tom lindsey said...