Betsy Speicher

The Scarlet Pimpernel

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6 posts in this topic

I recently read this classic book on the suggestion of a friend, having heard that it was an important precursor to Ayn Rand's Francisco in Atlas Shrugged. I wanted to verify this for myself, and enjoyed this short book in the process, as being a great innovator of the "secret hero" character prototype, exemplified in the person of -- well, I won't spoil the story of who he is.

Aside from the amazing "secret hero" prototype, there is one more vital similarity to Atlas, namely that the story is not even about the secret hero, but about the woman who worships and seeks him; it's really not about the mysterious Pimpernel, but about Marguerite who searches for him in worship and desperation. Even the character of Marguerite is strikingly similar to Dagny, an exquisite woman of great self-assurance and poise, whose great distinction yet is her mind and the literary circle she establishes in Paris before her marriage.

It's a short and highly recommended read. Even better, it's a highly recommended listen -- not only the book but the audio recording of it are available freely online at: http://www.scarletpimpernel.com. It is performed by a very attractive youthful British female voice, further extending the joyful illusion as if Marguerite or Baronness Orczy is realting to you the story herself.

I gave the book a 9.

P.S. As to some possible charges of plagiarism from Scarlet Pimpernel, I respond to those charges in this post:

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...amp;#entry61563

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A person wrote to me inquiring about the book, and I sent them a reply that I think merits being repeated here as well:

I don't know if the book is the best alternative. Scarlet Pimpernel originally started as a stage-play, and was only adapted into a novel. And I didn't quite enjoy the adaptation, or at least the first few chapters; but when it's spoken out, as would be required in a play, then the book becomes alive once again. Thus I highly recommend the audio book I referenced above. Plus, believe me, every guy will enjoy the voice that's acting it out.

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This was one of the few books that was turned into a movie worthy of it- Leslie Howard as Percy, made in the mid 1930s. Merle Oberon as Lady Blakely, Percy's wife is so astoundingly beautiful she transcends the era in which the movie was made. She positively shimmers throughout the movie.

This does nothing to reflect on the book which is a great story and clearly has parallels to the current tyranny we sometimes live under.

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"Sink me!!"

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