The Adventures of Alexandre Dumas

By | December 26, 2018

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Alexander Dumas. Source: (The Weekly Challenger)

Dumas Davy de La Pailleterie, more commonly known as Alexandre Dumas, was born in Viller- Cotterêts, France on July 24, 1802. Dumas was the son of Marie Louise Labouret and Thomas-Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie. He had two older sisters, Marie-Alexandrine and Louise Alexandrine, though Louise-Alexandrine died before Alexandre was born. His father was born in Saint-Domingue, in what is now Haiti. He was the son of the Marquis Alexandre Antoine Davy de La Pailleterie and an enslaved Haitian woman named Marie- Césette Dumas.

Despite being born out of wedlock, Thomas-Alexandre was taken by his father to France where he later enlisted in Napoleon’s army under the name Dumas. He advanced quickly, becoming a general by the age of thirty-one. After having a disagreement with Napoleon in Egypt, Thomas-Alexandre left the country in March of 1799 only to be taken prisoner in Naples. He was released in 1801, but never received any compensation for his time in imprisonment nor was he able to obtain a new position in the military. As a result, the family struggled financially. Their situation grew even worse when Thomas-Alexandre died of stomach cancer on February 26, 1806, leaving Marie Louise to care for young Dumas and his sister alone.

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General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. Source: (Wikipedia)

In 1822, Dumas moved to Paris where he studied literature while working as a scribe for the Duke d’Orleans, who would later become King Louis-Philippe. He wrote several plays which proved immensely popular during the late 1820s and 1830s and his style was often likened to that of Victor Hugo. Some of his early plays include Henry III (1829), Napoleon Bonaparte (1831), and Antony (1831). He also wrote essays, short stories, and novels, with a deep interest in crime and scandals. From 1839 to 1841, he collaborated on an eight-volume collection of essays, entitled Celebrated Crimes, which featured famous criminals from history including Beatrice Cenci, Martin Guerre, and Karl Ludwig Sand, as well as Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia.