5th December 2020 by

150th anniversary of the death of Alexandre Dumas

One of the most widely read French authors, Alexandre Dumas’ (1802-1870) works have been translated into many languages. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ and ‘The Three Musketeers’. His novels have been adapted into nearly 200 films.

Dumas began his career writing plays, along with numerous magazine articles and travel books. His writing earned him a great deal of money, but he was frequently insolvent, as he spent lavishly on women and sumptuous living (scholars have fond that he had a total of 40 mistresses!). One of his sons, bearing the same name, Alexandre Dumas, also became a successful novelist and playwright.

In March 1861, the kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, with Victor Emmanuel II as its king. Dumas travelled there and for the next three years participated in the movement for Italian unification. He founded and led a newspaper, Indipendente.

Despite Dumas’s aristocratic background and personal success, he had to deal with discrimination related to his mixed-race ancestry. In 1843, he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism.

In 1970, the Alexandre Dumas Paris Métro station was named in his honour. His country home outside Paris, the Château de Monte-Cristo, has been restored and is open to the public as a museum.

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