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Christine, ou Stockholm, Fontainebleau, et Rome

drame/play, pub:1830, action:1626-1689

Poetic drama (tragedy) in five acts concerning an episode in the life of Queen Christina of Sweden. First written in 1828 in four days as Christine à Fontainebleau. Rewritten in 1830. Part of Théâtre complet.

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    Monaldeschi before Queen Christine - The bas-relief by Mlle. De Fauveau which suggested the play "Christine" to Dumas
    Queen Christina

From Reviews (ADR) by Arthur D. Rypinski:
     Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689) assumed the throne at the age of 18, in 1644, and reigned until 1654. While still young, she astonished Europe by abdicating, turning her throne over to her cousin, decamping to Italy, and converting to Catholicism. As an unemployed Catholic monarch, she entered into an unsuccessful intrigue with Cardinal Mazarin, Premier of France, to be made Queen of Naples.
     While staying in France (at the Palace of Fontainebleu), she ordered the summary execution of her equerry and Ambassador to the French Court, Marchese Gian Rinaldo Monaldeschi. As a sovereign, Christina had the power of life or death over her subjects, while as a private citizen, she had ordered a murder. The position of an ex- and perhaps future sovereign was unclear.
     Dumas' play Christine was based on this episode. Many contemporaries and 18th century historians believed that Monaldeschi was a discarded lover, and that the crime was one of passion. However, modern historians, who have the benefit of reading Christina's decrypted letters, believe that Monaldeschi had betrayed Christina in her negotiations with the French Court, and that the killing was strictly political. The French did not detain Christina, and she lived another thirty years (mostly in Rome) as an unsuccessful politician and celebrated patroness of the arts and letters.

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A dramatic trilogy, in verse, in five acts, with additional prologue and epilogue.
     Dumas obtained the first idea of this play from a bas-relief exhibited in the Salon of 1827.
     Others were attracted by the same subject, and, as a consequence, this became the second play he had performed of his own unaided composition, instead of the first. This, as it happened, was fortunate, for he completely reshaped it, adding, moreover, one of the most moving characters, the girl-page Paula.
     Originally entitled "Christine à Fontainebleau," and dated 1828, this piece then consisted of five acts only, comprising 1,950 alexandrines. After modification it was called " Stockholm, Fontainebleau et Rome," in the original edition, while in later ones it was entitled "Christine, ou Stockholm, Fontainebleau et Rome." In this final state it consisted of 2,583 alexandrines, with two prose letters inserted.
     Owing to its length, and probably also to the lessened interest aroused by its epilogue, this latter was usually omitted after the first performance, and to meet the need Dumas made a slight alteration, though he seemed to think that the full version was the better. Thus we have a version in which Paula dies, and another in which she recovers from the poison, in which case she takes largely the part assigned to Ebba in the Epilogue. None of the more recent editions contain the note explaining the alternative matter which Dumas inserted in Charpentier's collected edition, and which early Brussels reprints give between Act V. and the Epilogue.
     As an epigraph the printed play carries the English word "Throughout . . .," and bears the dedication: "À Son Altesse Royale, Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans. Hommage de respect et de reconnaissance. Alex. Dumas. Paris, 30 Mars 1830, onze heures du Soir." The text is followed by a postscript thanking the actors.
     First performed at the Théâtre d'Odéon on the 30th of March, 1830.
     Original edition : Paris, Barba, Palais Royal, 1830, 8vo., pp. 191 and one blank. Printed by Larchevardière, with a lithograph by Charlet after Raffet, depicting Christine and Paula in Act V., Scene vi.
     It is included in the second volume of the collected plays issued by Charpentier, Paris, 1834.
     Later it appeared in the "France Dramatique," Paris, J, N. Barba, Delloye et Bezou, 1845, large 8vo., of two columns.
     It may now be read in Vol. 1. of both the 15 Vol. series and that in 25 Vols., issued by MM. Calmann-Lévy.
     Quérard states definitely that after the first performance both the prologue and the epilogue were omitted from Paris performances.

         Parody :—
     "Tristine, ou Chaillot, Suresne et Charenton," " a trilogy without preamble or continuation," in three acts of one scene, in verse, by MM. Carmouche, de Courcy and Depeuty. First performed at the Ambigu Comique on April 26th, 1830. Published Paris, Riga, Boulland, 1830, 8vo., pp. 36.

         References :—
     Dumas: "Mes Mémoires," Chapters CIX., CXIV., CXVII., CXXV., CXXXIII. and CXXXVIII.
     Janin: "Alexandre Dumas," 1871, pp. 30-34.
     Quérard: "Supercheries Littéraires Dévoilées," Vol. I., Columns 1056-1057.
     Glinel: "Théâtre Inconnu," in "Revue Biblio-Iconographique, Year 1898," pp. 9-10.
     Samson: " Mémoires," pp. 254-60.
     Courmeaux: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 7-8.
     Blaze de Bury: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 38-42.
     Parran: "Bibliographie d'A. Dumas," p. 20.
     Lecomte: "Alexandre Dumas," pp. 239-240.
     Parigot: "Le Drame d'Alexandre Dumas," pp. 89-90, 100-2, 186-97.
     "La Silhouette," 1830, Vol. II., Part i., p. 8; do. Part ii., pp. 14-15; do. Part iii., p. 23, a note on a fine accompanying lithograph of the last scene of Act V. of "Christine," after A. Devéria.

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