Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Mont Tonnerre

Mont Tonnerre (toh-NAYR). Also known as Mount Thunder, a mountain on the left bank of the Rhine River near Worms, topped by a ruined feudal castle, where Balsamo receives his commission after confronting three hundred sword-bearing phantoms and revealing himself to their chiefs as their long-awaited messiah, the Great Copt.

Taverney château

Taverney château (ta-ver-NAY). Comparatively humble abode reflecting the reduced circumstances of the Taverney family, whose grander castle of Maison-Rouge lies in ruins nearby. It is situated between Saint Mihiel and Bar-le-Duc on the road from Strasbourg to Paris. There, the narrative begins to take shape, as a fateful storm interrupts Balsamo’s progress, forcing him to seek shelter in the château.


Lachaussée (lah-koh-SAY). Village farther along the road, between Vitry and Chalons, where Philip fights Jean Dubarry after Chon attempts to commandeer Marie Antoinette’s horses.


*Paris. Principal locations within the city featured in the plot are philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s house in the rue de Plâtrière, where Gilbert finds refuge after meeting the philosopher in the woods at Meudon; the Hôtel d’Armenonville, the Taverney family’s town-house in the rue Coq-Heron, where the family is lodged in Paris; and Balsamo’s exotically furnished house in a cul-de-sac off the rue St. Claude. Other key scenes are enacted at the Carmelite convent of St. Denis, where Lorenza seeks refuge with Princess Louise before Balsamo reclaims her, and the various locations in which the Comtesse de Bearn is duped and manipulated: the...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Bell, A. Craig. Alexandre Dumas: A Biography and Study. London: Cassell, 1950. One of the better studies of the works of Dumas, this volume places some emphasis on The Memoirs of a Physician. The biography chronicles Dumas’ social circle.

Dumas, Alexandre, père. The Road to Monte Cristo: A Condensation from “The Memoirs of Alexandre Dumas.” Translated by Jules Eckert Goodman. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1956. An excellent, abridged translation of Dumas’ memoirs that relate to his source material for his novels, including The Memoirs of a Physician.

Maurois, André. The Titans, a Three-Generation Biography of the Dumas. Translated by Gerard Hopkins. New York: Harper & Row, 1957. Considered the authoritative biography of Dumas père, his father, and his son. Includes an excellent bibliography. Discusses The Memoirs of a Physician in a cursory fashion.

Schopp, Claude. Alexandre Dumas: Genius of Life. Translated by A. J. Koch. New York: Franklin Watts, 1988. A biographical and critical approach to the life and works of Alexandre Dumas, père. Contains a discussion on Dumas’ problems with the serialization of The Memoirs of a Physician.

Stowe, Richard S. Alexandre Dumas (père). Boston: Twayne, 1976. An excellent starting point for an analysis of the life and works of Alexandre Dumas, père, probably the best source in English. The Memoirs of a Physician is analyzed in the chapter entitled “The Marie-Antoinette Romances,” of which the novel is the first of five installments.