“The Man in the Iron Mask is the final episode in the cycle of novels featuring Dumas celebrated foursome of D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who first appeared in The Three Musketeers. Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy. In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille? And what is the nature of the threat he poses?” (from Wordsworth Classics back copy)
This 19th century American copy is of particular interest as an example of the common practice of North American publishers pirating books from England and the rest of Europe in the 1800’s. At that time, publishers from the United States and Canada made a steady income purchasing books in Europe and making unauthorized reproductions of them without paying any sort of royalties or compensation to the original authors or publishers. The fact that no year is included in conjunction with an amusing printing quirk on the last page indicate that this is probably one such volume. The font size on the last page of the text gets progressively smaller as if the printer is trying to squeeze as many words on the pages as possible, probably to finish the narrative while avoiding starting a new page. It indicates a more rushed, ad hoc printing process rather than one that has been properly planned.
- Title: Man in the Iron Mask: A Historical Romance
- Author: Alexander Dumas
- Translator: Henry L. Williams
- Publisher: M. Lupton Publishing Company
- Place: New York
- Year: not stated; 189?
- Edition: Avon Edition
- Length: 478pp
- Dimensions: 5” x 7.36” x 1.25”