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The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. In the year 1792, Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney are the darlings of British society-he is known as one of the wealthiest men in England and a dimwit;she is French, a stunning former actress, and "the cleverest woman in Europe"-and they find themselves at the center of a deadly political intrigue. The Reign of Terror controls France, and every day aristocrats in Paris fall victim to Madame la Guillotine. Only one man can rescue them-the Scarlet Pimpernel-a master of disguises who leaves a calling card bearing only a signature red flower. As the fascinating connection between the Blakeneys and this mysterious hero is revealed, they are forced to choose between love and loyalty in order to avoid the French agent Chauvelin, who relentlessly hunts the Scarlet Pimpernel. First published in 1905, The Scarlet Pimpernel is the best-known novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, a prolific
author of popular fiction and plays. The novel pioneered the tale of the masked avenger and paved the way for such future enigmatic swashbucklers as Zorro, Superman, and the Lone Ranger. Repeatedly adapted for stage and screenmost recently as a successful Broadway musical-The Scarlet Pimpernel is a relevant and enormously entertaining tale of survival and pluck during times of widespread fear, hypocrisy, and corruption. Includes 8 pieces of original art. Sarah Juliette Sasson is a lecturer in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University and is the managing editor of the Romanic Review, a journal devoted to romance literatures. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia. She specializes in nineteenth-century literature and particularly in the novel. She has published essays on HonorÃ© de Balzac, Heinrich Heine, and on social mobility in nineteenth-century literature. Currently, she is working on a book on Balzac.
About The Author Sarah Juliette Sasson is a lecturer in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University and is the managing editor of the Romanic Review, a journal devoted to romance literatures. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia. She specializes in nineteenth-century literature and particularly in the novel. She has published essays on HonorÃ© de Balzac, Heinrich Heine, and on social mobility in nineteenth-century literature. Currently, she is working on a book on Balzac.
Reviews Set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution... The title character represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (the Batman). The popularity of the novel encouraged Orczy to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The original play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical, and other media.
Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, was about heroism and loyalty. The novel takes place during the French Revolution, where social classes are at odds against each other. The story is full of adventure and daring as a mysterious man, the scarlet pimpernel, leads a band of devoted followers into the fiery furnaces of France to save innocents from the balde of the Guillotine. In order to keep from being found, the scarlet pimpernel hides behind a mask. He is seen as an English fop who acts like an extreme idiot. Not being able to look past a crooked cravat, Sir Percy was the richest, but dimwitted man in all of England. The disguise was so deceiving that even his beautiful wife, a talented actress, beleives his idiocy. His wife Margurette, was known for her cleverness, and many people mocked the union of the dumbest man with the cleverest woman. i beleive his wife, Marguarette, knew there was more to him before she married him, but was swayed by other opinions until she believed his ruse herself. I believe that she still secretly hoped for more, and that is why she readily accepted his true identity when she found out her husband was the scarlet pimpernel. She still loved him enough to risk her life for him. i think Margarette had the biggest choice to make. She had to choose between the two most important people in her life: her only and dearest brother, Armando, and her husband, Percy Blackney. She chooses her brother over her the unknown scarlet pimpernel, but later is able to warn him of the danger she put him into. Percy had to make a choice between his pride, or his love for his wife. This conflict put a rift in their relationship and caused many misunderstandings. I believe the turning point in the story is when Margarrite decides to go after Percy to warn him that Chauvelin meant to trap him. The setting changes from England to France, and the pace of the story increases. The characters must think quickly and be cunning enough to escape the traps made by Chauvelin. The falling action is when Margaruette follows the cart holding Chauvelin, Percy's enemy and an important figure in the Revolution. She is eventually caught by Chauvelin, but is reunited with her husband, who had cunningly taken on the disguise of a poor Jew. Orczy had a love for heroism and loyalty. She was able to create an exciting adventure in which there was a valiant hero that conquered over evil.
A French Government agent is hired to find the identity of a daring and elusive Englishman. The Scarlet Pimpernel tells of his attempts to discover him, and get him eliminated. Baroness Orczy cleverly tells of how he employs all sorts of methods to discover the character, while the reader is dumbfounded as well. The book starts out in France during the French Revolution. The leaders of the Revolution are outraged, since an Englishman is entering Paris and rescuing the aristocrats. No one, save the members of the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel know the true identity of the daring and elusive man. It is not until of the wife of Sir Percy Blakeney realizes the true identity, that the identity is revealed. She gets a tip that the agent will capture him, and races all over France and England to warn him. I really liked the book. It was full of action, and excitement. The plot was brilliantly laid out, so that the reader does not find out the personality of the Scarlet Pimpernel, until Lady Blakeney does. There are hints dropped throughout the book, but they are not fully understood until the character is revealed. The characters were very well laid out. They were believable; they did not seem overly unrealistic. In some books, the main characters are not quite believable. These were just normal characters looking for a little bit of fun. I really enjoyed the writing. It was interesting; there was a good balance between setting the scene, developing characters, and laying the plot. It was balanced very well in that sense. It was not too hard of reading, so that you have to have a PhD to understand it, but it is not so easy that it is boring. I think that this was a really good book, and I would definitely recommend it to people looking for some good reading.
I got this book for Christmas from my bro-in-law. I had just read Gone W/The Wind, and Scarlett(The Sequel to GWTW) I am into books like GWTW and I wasn't so sure about the Scarlet Pimpernel. I read it, and as I did the plot behind GWTW kept popping into my mind! Scarlett takes Rhett for granted while she chases after Ashley,just as Marguerite takes Percy for granted as she dreams of the Scarlet Pimpernel. In the end, I love both books.
Read An Excerpt From Sarah Juliette Sasson's Introduction to The Scarlet Pimpernel The volume we are presenting here is the first of a series of ten novels published between 1905 and 1940 that present the adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel. This first volume is certainly the most famous and widely read of them all and has had its own fabulous destiny. For it paves the way for the future plots, introduces the readers to the main characters, and vividly depicts and opposes the two theaters of the action: France and England, only a few hours apart by boat, but symbolizing two completely different universes. The date is September 1792, after the infamous September Massacres. The revolutionaries have decided to start history anew. In a few months, a new calendar will be established, beginning with l'An I (the Year I). Each month is rebaptized and given a new name selected for its agrarian associations, and the old Christian names are thrown out. France will become an ill-famed regicide regime with the public execution of King Louis XVI, on January 21, 1793. The bloodiest phase of the French Revolution, the so-called Reign of Terror (or simply the Terror), will soon begin. The Scarlet Pimpernel cycle takes place during these particularly brutal years-from September 1792 to the fall of the radical revolutionary Maximilien de Robespierre in July 1794. In certain episodes, the fictional actions combine with authentic historical events: In the novel Eldorado, for example, the Scarlet Pimpernel will be instrumental in the escape of the young dauphin, Louis XVII, whose fate has fueled speculation for more than two centuries. In Baroness Orczy's imagination, France is a country in chaos; a mob runs amok, mercilessly murdering its former elite, the aristocrats. The fact that the action starts in September 1792 is significant; we, as readers, do not learn much
about the French Revolution of 1789-its hopes, ideologies, and ethos. Instead, we are plunged into the violent and cruel context of the Terror. Here are the first lines of the novel: A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate. . . . During the greater part of the day the guillotine had been kept busy at its ghastly work: all that France had boasted of in the past centuries, of ancient names, and blue blood, had paid toll to her desire for liberty and for fraternity. The carnage had only ceased at this late hour of the day because there were other more interesting sights for the people to witness . . . and so the crowd rushed away from the Place de GrÃ¨ve and made for the various barricades in order to watch this interesting and amusing sight. We are in the thick of the action, shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, surrounded by a repulsive throng, immersed in a gruesome spectacle. Soon we witness an unequal yet fascinating cat-and-mouse game between the crowd and the helpless aristocrats pathetically attempting to go past the barricade and leave the city. The aristocrats are purposely and sadistically let go, taste freedom for a few moments of intense relief, and are apprehended minutes later-unless, thanks to some miraculous intervention of the Scarlet Pimpernel, they vanish into thin air before the guards' very noses. Clearly a hero is needed, and these very first images give us the dramatic setup for the Scarlet Pimpernel's extraordinary deeds. In the first minutes of the 1934 film adaptation of the novel, the guillotine presides over the scene as a ghastly and imposing apparition. We watch aristocrats being dragged from their tumbrils and executed at the regular intervals of a factory production line. Each falling head is followed by hurrahs; each provokes a few seconds of attention from the tricoteuses, those spiteful witches who raise their heads from their knitting for a few seconds to absorb the spectacle before taking up their needles again. On the other side of the Channel, however, the picture is completely different. Not only do beauty and elegance reign, but courage, heroism, and wit ultimately prevail. The Scarlet Pimpernel introduces a mythical English hero, one who has indeed all the qualities of a typical avenger; he is what critics of popular novels call a "Promethean hero." Although his identity must remain secret, he stirs passions in both France and England, and his name is on everyone's lips. Well-known to the British public, he inspires fashions and trends: "Heard of the Scarlet Pimpernel ? . . . Faith, man! we talk of nothing else. . . . We have hats 'Ã la Scarlet Pimpernel'; our horses are called 'Scarlet Pimpernel'; at the Prince of Wales' supper party the other night we had a 'soufflÃ© Ã la Scarlet Pimpernel.'. . . Lud! . . . the other day I ordered at my milliner's a blue dress trimmed with green, and bless me, if she did not call that 'Ã la Scarlet Pimpernel'." But most important, like all great and fearless heroes, the Pimpernel leaves a trademark sign after every act of bravery. His passing is indicated by papers printed with a humble red flower, a "scarlet pimpernel," a gesture that not only shows his debonair demeanor but also a playful taste for risk-taking. An aristocrat himself, the Pimpernel leads a group of nineteen wellborn young men, ready to sacrifice themselves for the perilous yet exhilarating task of snatching endangered French aristocrats from the bloody grip of the revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel presents such rescues as moral actions, and also as an exciting sport. The Pimpernel and his men behave like knights, but the reader will find neither reflection nor justification for their actions in the text. Their deeper motivation is not expressed; explanations are unnecessary.
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