Happy birthday Alexandre Dumas!

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Alexandre Dumas (July 24, 1802—December 5, 1870) was a French playwright and novelist. He is known for his contributions to the adventure drama, namely with the novels The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1846), The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (1850), along with countless others.

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Dumas was born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie in Picardy, France to Marie-Louise Élisabeth Labouret and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. His father was born to a French nobleman and a Dominican slave, and he became the first person of Afro-Antilles descent to reach the post of general in the French army.

After his father died when Dumas was just four years old, he was raised by his mother. She told him stories of his father's bravery and Dumas read all the books he could. At 20 years old, he moved to Paris and began to work at the Palais Royal in the office of the Duke of Orléans. During this period, he attended theater as much as he could during his time off and soon began to write his own plays.

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His first success came with the play Henri III et sa cour (1829). But soon he became politically active and was thrown out of France during the revolution. He wrote a few travel books during his time in exile.

mzl.kchshmah.480x480-75When he returned to Paris, he wrote a series of plays. Not long after, he began to write historical fiction novels including Les Trois Mousquetaires (1844; The Three Musketeers ), Vingt Ans après (1845; Twenty Years After), Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1846; The Count of Monte Cristo), and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard (1850; The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later).

Dumas was a very social person who worked with many collaborators. Auguste Maquet was perhaps his best known partner. Allegedly, he helped outline the plot for The Count of Monte Cristo, in addition to contributing to several other novels. (Image source)

Though he made a lot of money off of his very popular novels, he experienced financial hardship as he was a lavish spender. He bought a country house called the Château de Monte-Cristo, where he many acquaintances and mistresses to visit him, but he eventually had to sell it.

Because of his mixed-race background, Dumas experienced discrimination. In response to a man who insulted his ancestry, he is famously quoted as saying, "My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends."

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 24 July 2014
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