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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the title of a historical novel by the prolific novelist and short story writer Baroness Emma Orczy (see reference link below). It is the first novel in a series of historical fiction which is set during the Reign of Terror at the time of the French Revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel was first published in 1905. It features the daring exploits of an English gentleman who uses the alias of "The Scarlet Pimpernel." His real name is Sir Percy Blakeney. He poses as a fop and an idler, but in reality is devoting his time and resources to rescuing French aristocrats from the guillotine. The hero of the whole series of historical novels typically leaves his calling card behind after each of his successful exploits. The card simply bears a picture of the small red flower named "the scarlet pimpernel." No one is able to discover the true identity of the mysterious adventurer and brilliant swordsman who calls himself The Scarlet Pimpernel. The character became a favorite with Hollywood filmmakers. There were a dozen Scarlet Pimpernel movies made between 1917 and 1982. The best-known of these is The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) starring Leslie Howard, an English actor who is now mainly remembered as one of the leading characters in the movie Gone With the Wind (1940). The 1934 film version of The Scarlet Pimpernel is available on DVD. A British television series titled The Scarlet Pimpernel was brought out in 1999. It is also available on DVD.