My apologies to Luc Sante, referred to as the translator/abridger of the B&N version of the Count of Monte Cristo in my last blog post. I have since been informed that, while he was commissioned by B&N to write the foreward and introductory notes to their edition, he was not, in fact, the translator or the abridger. After being informed of my mistake, I searched my B&N edition in vain for the translator/abridger's name, but came up empty. So please plug in the word "anonymous" for wherever I refer to Mr Sante in my review in my prior post.
While I stand by my remarks concerning the B&N edition in my previous post, I would like to state here that Mr Sante's notes were highly enlightening, and one area in which my introduction-free edition of Bair's translation/abridgment fell down. Bair's edition occurred in an historical and literary vacuum, as far as informing the reader of the context in which Alexandre Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo. (Though that may have changed in more recent printings of the volume. I can't tell without holding a current copy in my hand to see for myself.) Mr Sante also included a number of helpful footnotes and extremely interesting after notes, including the startling revelation that Dumas originally intended to begin his novel at page 153 (in this abridgment) at "The Pont du Gard Inn," dealing with prior events in flashbacks, rather than in "real time" as is the case in the novel that we know and love today. One can only try to imagine how differently the book might have read had Dumas ultimately chosen to follow this path.
So while the B&N edition is not my favorite version to read, the notes by Mr Sante are well worth pursuing for a deeper understanding of this truly Classic novel.