Alexandre Dumas, père, (1802-1870), prolific French playwright, historian, and author is best known today for his novel (first serialised in the magazine Le Siècle), The Three Musketeers (1844).
This is the counsel young D'Artagnan's father gives him as he sets off to Paris to become a musketeer. He becomes fast friends with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis and embracestheir motto "One for all, and all for one", exemplifying the major theme in Dumas' works of loyalty and honour among men. Like Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) Dumas père also wrote several roman feuilleton or serial works; Twenty Years After (1845) and The Vicomte de Bragelonne (1847), including Louise de la Valliere, Ten Years Later, and The Man in the Iron Mask concludes his d'Artagnan Romances.The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), first serialised in the weekly Journal des débats was also a huge literary and financial success for Dumas père. Through protagonist Edmond Dantès the reader is taken along his journey of a wrongful trial, his search for justice, revenge, and ultimately riches, forgiveness, and love. Mirroring Dumas père's own life of high adventure and decadence, he based many ofhis protagonists on historical figures, as is apparent in his Celebrated Crimes series (written between 1839 and 1841) which includes essays on The Borgias, Ali Pacha, Mary Stuart, and La Constantin. Although the issue of his part-African ancestry was not one that Dumas père wrote about often Georges: The Planter of the Isle of France (1843) particularly deals with the theme of mixed-race andwhite colonialism. Dumas père collaborated with French historian and author Auguste Maquet (1813-1886) on some of his more famous works; many of them are still in print today and have inspired other author's works and numerous adaptations to the stage and screen.
Alexandre Dumas père was born on 24 July 1802 in the village of Villers-Cotterêts, just outside of Paris, France, the third child born toMarie Louise Labouret, daughter of an inn keeper, and Thomas Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie (1762-1806) a military General under Napoléon. Alexandres' grandfather, the Marquis Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie (1710-1786) married a slave he fell in love with in San Domingo (now Haiti) named Marie Louise Césette Dumas (d.1772). Thomas took her last name when he himself enlisted with the Frencharmy. After a falling out with Napoléon due to his criticism of the Egypt campaign, and a long imprisonment which left him in poor health, Thomas returned returned home a broken man with no pension. After his death the family was left in dire financial straits. Alexandre's mother set her best efforts to providing an education for her son although he proved to be less than enthusiastic about it. Heattended Abbé Grégoire's school before finding employment with a local notary to help support the family.
In 1822 Dumas père set off for Paris and was soon immersed in literary life. He worked as a scribe for the duc d'Orléans, later to be King Louis Philippe when the 1830 revolution which Dumas père participated in ousted King Charles X. He met noted playwrights and collaborated with them beforemaking his own entrance to the stage at the Comédie française with his plays Henry III and His Court (1829), The Tower of Nesle (1832), Kean (1836), and his Byronic Antony (first performed in 1831) inspired by the works of Lord George Gordon Byron. An avid reader of William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, his dramas were immensely popular, being among the first of the Romantic movement along withfriend and sometimes rival Victor Hugo's (1802-1885). They were a decided change from the Neoclassic style that dominated Parisian stages at the time. During this period Dumas père had a son, Alexandre fils (1824-1895) with his lover Marie Laure Catherine Labay (1794-1868) who also became a noted author and playwright, being admitted to the Académie française in 1874. Although Dumas père kept...