I decided to celebrate the two hundredth literature study guide on the website by redoing the guide for my all-time favorite novel, Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. I have read the book at least a half-dozen times since I was in junior high school, but always in Lowell Bair’s excellent abridged translation (I discovered that, although it is a thousand pages shorter than the unabridged Modern Library version, it omits very little essential to the plot). I had always wanted to read the unabridged version, so this time I tackled it – all 1462 pages. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found that the themes of redemption, resurrection, and the futilityof revenge still struck a chord. Not surprisingly, the new study guide is more than three times longer than the old one. Though you may not be prepared to tackle the unabridged version in all its glory, I would heartily recommend taking the time to read Bair’s abridgement. By the way, this is not a good candidate for viewing the movie instead. The 2002 version starring Jim Caviezel does not come close to doing justice to the complexity of the plot, and even the 1998 French miniseries version starring Gerard Depardieu, which is generally quite good, deviates from the plot of the novel in a few ways that will disappoint the true fan of Dumas’ original.