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Isaac Laquedem

"Tarry till I come!" or, The everlasting wanderer; a story of the Messiah's life-times

roman/novel, pub:1852-1853

    Announcement of the publication of Isaac Laquedem, 1853
    Brief review of Isaac Laquedem

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     This story, unfortunately never completed, promised to be one of its author's best. Paul Lacroix is credited with having suggested the idea, but even this seems doubtful, for Dumas distinctly states that not only had he been considering the plot for twenty years, but that so long before as that he had sold it to the publisher Charpentier (in those days it was a very common practice to dispose of a work before a word had been written). Feeling that the eight volumes then intended were quite inadequate for the claims of such a subject, he re-purchased it, intending to make of it eighteen or more volumes. Thus it lay fertilising in his mind for a couple of decades.
     Common report accredited the censorship with interfering in its publication, and Dumas even stated as much in a letter prefixed to his drama "Les Mohicans de Paris." Nevertheless it seems exceedingly likely that the real trouble lay in the hostile attacks of the ultra-clerical papers against the new management of "Le Constitutionnel," where the romance appeared serially, and which had recently fallen into Jewish hands. Frightened by the clamour, the proprietors seem to have mutilated Dumas' copy to the extent of omitting many chapters and garbling others. In support of this idea, it may be pointed out that the work was printed in volume form immediately after appearing as a serial, with all the omissions restored, and this without any remonstrance or hindrance ; moreover the objection has always been stated to be the inclusion of the person of Christ as a figure in the story, but a whole volume and a quarter (nearly a third of the romance as we now have it) were written and published dealing with times entirely subsequent to the crucifixion.
     After the Prologue, the Introduction and the first three chapters of the narrative proper (as printed in the Belgian editions ; in the French ones, Prologue and Introduction are merged into the general narrative as Chapters I. to IX.), the serial issue omits almost the whole of seventeen chapters, with a few sentences only to bridge the gap thus left.
     This romance is, or was to have been, Dumas' story of the Wandering Jew. The Prologue (Chapters I. to VI. of the French edition) takes place in 1469 at Rome ; the Introduction (Chapters VII. to IX.) give a graphic sketch of Jerusalem from the days of David until the coming of the Romans ; the remainder which we possess, described by its author as the "First Part," is devoted to the days of Christ and to a few months immediately preceding the accession of Nero to the Empire.
     We here have Dumas writing unassisted and at his best ; it would have been one of his very greatest romances had it been completed. Blaze de Bury devotes many pages to it ; he saw the plan of the entire work, and the idea was truly epic; even what we have cannot afford to be overlooked by lovers of Dumas.
     It appeared serially in "Le Constitutionnel."
     Original edition: Brussels, Lebègue, 5 vols., 16mo., 1852-53. This fixes the date a year earlier than is usually ascribed. Since the appearance in the journal was during 1852-53, the author must have supplied a full copy to the Belgian publisher.
     First French edition : Paris, Marchant, 2 vols., 8vo., 1853.
     It now fills two volumes in the standard Calmann-Lévy edition.
     In Le Vasseur's "Alexandre Dumas Illustré" it is in Vol. IX.

         References :—
     Dumas: "Mes Mémoires," Chapters CXVIII. and CCXXVIII.
     Dumas: "Le Pasteur d'Ashbourne," note pp. 290-91 of Vol. III. (In the Brussels edition only.)
     "Le Constitutionnel" for December 9th, 1852.—Announcement of " Isaac Laquedem."
     Dumas: Letter to "La Presse," February 28th, 1853.
     Blaze de Bury: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 283-310.
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'Alex. Dumas," page 61.
     Courmeaux: "Alexandre Dumas," page 39.
     Parigot: "Alexandre Dumas," page 142.
     Aubineau: Articles in "L'Univers" for January 20th and February 28th, 1853.
     De Baincey: Articles in "L'Ami de la Religion," January 18th and March 1st, 1853.
     De Mirecourt: "Les Contemporains," Paul Lacroix.
     "Revue de Paris" : "Poésie en Belgique," 1853.
     Reed: "London Quarterly" for October, 1928.—"Dumas' Wandering Jew : 'Isaac Laquedem.' "

         English Translation :—
     An English version was projected by Vizetelly, but only the first part appeared.

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