Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas, Père, was born on July 24th, 1802, in Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, France. His father, Thomas-Alexander Davy De La Paileteririe, born in wedlock to a black woman, was a soldier who later became a general in Napoleon’s army. The family slumped into hard times when the father died in 1806, and young Dumas went to Paris to try out as a lawyer. Dumas’s handwriting was noticeably beautiful. Still a little boy, he was already writing musical comedies and historical plays. Alexandre’s last name, Dumas, comes from his Haitian grandmother.


Alexandre Dumas found work as a secretary to the Duke of Orléans around 1773–1850 in Paris, France. However, he read and attended the theater as much as possible during his time off from duty. The books of William Shakespeare greatly influenced Dumas. His first and second play was written in 1825 and 1826, respectively. Other plays such as Henri III Etsacour came out in 1829 and brought him great success and popularity in France and the rest of Europe.  Dumas managed to obtain a post in the household of Duke d’Orléans, but tried his fortune in the theatre and became a success. He made contact with famous actors such as Francois-Joseph Talma. The revolution of 1830 slowed down Alexandre Dumas’s writing and poetry career, and he went into politics to become a strong supporter of the Marquis de Lafayette. However, his political activities were viewed unfavorably by the new king, friends, and some family members. As such, he was forced to leave France for a while. During his exile, he wrote a series of amusing travel books.

Alexander Dumas established himself as one of the most popular and prolific authors in France and Europe. He is best remembered for his adventure novel, The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo co-authored with Auguste Maquet. He gained a lot of reputation first as a dramatist and then as an adventurer novelist. His books received a lot of recognition in the late 1820s and early 1830s, and he remains one of the greatest novelists in the history of the world. After some round of sale of his classic novels, he bought a piece of land and built the Château de Monte Cristo in Yvelines, France. Today the building is a museum.

Personal life

Alexander Dumas got married to actress Ida Ferrier on February 1st, 1840. He was accused of having extramarital affairs with other women. It was known at that time that he met 41 different women having four children with them. Alexander Dumas died on December 5, 1870, in Puys, France. His books have been translated into more than 100 languages and adapted for numerous films, movies, and plays.


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