ALEXANDER DUMAS (1802-1870)
- Ange Pitou
- The Black Tulip
- Chicot the Jester
- The Count of Monte Cristo
- The forty-five guardsmen
- Louise de la Valliere
- Ten years later
- The man in the iron mask
- The three Musketeers
- Twenty years after
Alexandre Dumas was born on July 24, 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts 40 km NE of Paris. His birth certificate names him Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie.
His grandfather was the Marquis Antoine-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie and his grandmother was Marie-Céssette Dumas, a black slave from Jérémie, Saint-Domingue. She gave birth to Thomas-Alexandre and died when he was young. When they eventually returned to Paris, his grandfather did not approve of his father enlisting the army under the name of Davy de la Pailleterie, so he enlisted as Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. Thomas-Alexandre worked his way to the title of General under Napoleon Bonaparte.
Alexandre grew up in Villers-Cotterêts, and traveled to Paris when he was twenty. By twenty-five, he had his first success as a playwright. Dumas has written many interesting anecdotes about these years in Mes Mémoires. Many people do not realize that Dumas became famous not for his novels, but for his plays.
Dumas wrote hundreds of plays, novels and travel diaries. He wrote several children's stories, and a culinary dictionary. He started several magazines and wrote in them weekly. He was one of the most prolific writers ever, and did not shy away from collaborating with others or rewriting older stories.
His most successful novels are not deep, but contain marvelous adventures and actions, and bigger-than-life characters. He wrote many historical novels where he took great liberty with the truth in order to achieve a good story, but never claimed that they were historically accurate.
His son, Alexandre Dumas fils, wrote several important novels including La Dame aux Camélias, the basis of Verdi's opera La Traviata.
After many years of writing, traveling, and carousing, after he had made and lost several fortunes, Dumas died in Puys, near Dieppe, on December 5, 1870.