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In the 19th century, scientific discoveries and new social constructs caused a surge of existential confusion. It led to doubts and questions about the power of an individual in relation to society and God. These questions echo in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo and in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in their similar battle for individual control and meaning over society and God. Edmond Dantes claims to be acting in the stead of Providence throughout much of his journey in The Count of Monte Cristo, but his tirade of vengeance and refusal to connect with society result in the gradual displacement of God, and the substitution of himself in the role of justice. Similarly, the Queen of Hearts displaces Alice, the dreamer of Wonderland, as an authority figure and also distances herself to rule over society. Ultimately, the restoration of the rightful ruling power in both texts presents the futility of man in creating their own existential meaning independent of an established outside center.
Voltz, Whitney. Fear in a Handful of Dust: The role of fear and reader reaction in French Literature through the nineteenth-century conte fantastique. Diss. Tulane University, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2010. Online.
I love this dissertation. While it does not specifically mention the Count of Monte Cristo, it specifically talks about the effects of the political instabilities in French on French literature and its audience. Though it is quite long, I need to sit down with it and really highlight all the sections I want to use in my paper.
Behrent, Michael. "The Mystical Body of Soceity: Religion and Association in 19th Century French Political Thought." Journal of the History of Ideas Vol 69.2 (2008):219-248.Web.
This article will be super helpful. It specifically talks about the clash of religion and politics in concerning religion’s role in society. Roman Catholicism was the main religion at that time in France, which I did not know, but will be good to know in context with the Count of Monte Cristo.
"Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: An Underground Journey to the End of Night*." Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass: Nonsense, Sense and Meaning. Donald Rackin. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1988. 35-67. Twayne's Masterwork Studies 81. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.
This article has a lot of fabulous anaylsis of the Queen of Hearts and the ending of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that I am going to use as a starting point when I dig into it.