A Little About Alexandre Dumas By Vahan Karian

By Vahan Karian

One of my favorite authors, 19th-century French writer Alexandre Dumas, produced several literary classics during his career, among them The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Twenty Years After. Before his death in 1870, Dumas gained international fame for his novels and dramas.

Born in 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts, France, Dumas came from a noble lineage that included his grandfather, Marquis Alexandre-Antonie Davy de la Pailleterie, a key military figure in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti. Alexandre Dumas’ father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, served as a general in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. Though his father died shortly after he turned three years old, Alexandre Dumas grew up hearing the stories of Thomas-Alexandre’s military accomplishments and heroics during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. In 1822, Dumas moved to Paris, where he began working in the office of the Duc d’Orléans, who would later become King Louis-Philippe I of France.

During this period, Dumas began publishing his writings in magazines and producing plays, some of which were met with widespread acclaim. In the late 1830s, after participating in the revolution that brought Louis-Philippe I into power, Dumas turned his attention to writing novels, and one of his first fictional works was Le Capitaine Paul. After quickly rising to popularity, he opened a production studio where he and his employees created hundreds of stories for public consumption. During the 1840s, Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and other important works, often with the help of collaborators and literary assistants.

At the height of his prosperity, Dumas lived in Château de Monte-Cristo, an extravagant country home where he hosted many guests over the years. In the early 1850s, Dumas fled France to escape creditors and the newly empowered French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who disliked him. Before his death in 1870, Dumas traveled extensively throughout Europe and Russia and eventually founded a newspaper, the Indipendente, in Paris.

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