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Alexandre Dumas was a celebrated nineteenth century French author, deemed one of the most widely read French writers to date. He prolifically wrote a multitude of genres but his forte remained novels and plays. His chief literary works include The Count of Monte Cristo, La Tour de Nesle, and The Three Musketeers.
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Key Facts & Information
Early and Family Life
- Alexandre Dumas was born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie on July 24, 1802, in Villers-Cotterêts, France, to Marie Louise Labouret and General Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie.
- The Dumas family name was adopted from Alexandre’s grandmother, an enslaved Haitian woman named Marie-Césette Dumas. His grandfather was the Marquis Alexandre Antoine Davy de La Pailleterie.
- Thomas-Alexandre took the name Dumas when he enlisted in Napoleon’s army, where he acquired the dubious nickname “Black Devil.”
- Thomas-Alexandre rose to the rank of general at the age of 31, the highest rank of any black man in a European army. In 1797, he distinguished himself at the battle of Adige when he surprised and defeated an Austrian battery.
- Thomas-Alexandre left the armed forces following a disagreement with Napoleon over his Egypt campaign. He was imprisoned for nearly two years and died shortly after his release.
- After her husband’s death, Marie Louise worked hard to provide an education for her son.
- Unable to afford the school’s expenses, his widowed mother could not provide him formal education. However, Dumas’s passion for reading paved way for him and helped him learn Spanish on his own.
- Also, he grew up hearing the stories of his father’s bravery and valor in the wars from his mother which left a remarkable impression on him. Dumas attended Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary leader Abbé Grégoire’s school before dropping out to take a job assisting a local notary.
- In 1822, Dumas moved to Paris and immersed himself in literature. He worked as a scribe for the duc d’Orléans (later named King Louis Philippe) during the 1830 revolution.
- He began writing plays, both comedies and dramas. Dumas’s Romantic style—often compared to that of his contemporary and rival, Victor Hugo—proved to be exceptionally popular.
- At the age of 27, he penned down his first play, Henry III and His Courts in 1829, and it turned out to be a raging success. In 1830, his play Christine was published and garnered equal praise. The reception of his plays earned him enough to begin a full-time writing career.
- When his former employer, Duke of Orléans, came to power, France experienced a period of unrest but gradually the order restored and economy improved. Also, the censorship on press content lifted which provided an opportunity for Dumas’s literary skills to flourish.
- After successfully producing a number of plays, he experimented with the genre of novel. He also revised and serialized one of his plays, Le Capitaine Paul, in a magazine.
- During late 1830s, he compiled an eight-volume collection of essays, Celebrated Crimes, in collaboration with his friends. The collection was based on the historical and recent European crimes and criminals such as that of Lucrezia Borgia and Cesare Borgia, and names more contemporary to his time, like Karl Ludwig Sand.
- He achieved widespread success with The Count of Monte Cristo which is based on a historical account of France and narrates the tale of the vengeance of a wrongfully imprisoned man.
- Another one of Dumas’ masterpiece, The Three Musketeers, originally appeared in serial form in a newspaper. It is an adventure story set in the 17th century featuring a young man named d’Artagnan in pursuit of joining the Musketeers of the Guard and his friends.
- Upon reception of positive reviews, Dumas wrote two sequels to the novel: Twenty Years After and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne. The trilogy is known as the d’Artagnan Romances.
- The Man in the Iron Mask from Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, also stands out as one his most widely known.
- Among his many volumes of romantic novels are the series of Valois, which center on Queen Marguerite, the last in the Capetian dynasty, and eight novels dubbed the Marie Antoinette Romances.
- The popularity of his writing made Dumas a household name in France and a celebrity throughout much of Europe.
- Dumas died on December 5, 1870, at his son’s home in Puys, France. He was buried in the cemetery of Villers-Cotterêts.
- In 2002, his body was moved to the Panthéon in Paris, where Dumas rests among such other French literary greats like his rival Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Alexandre Dumas Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Alexandre Dumas across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Alexandre Dumas worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Alexandre Dumas who was a celebrated nineteenth century French author, deemed one of the most widely read French writers to date. He prolifically wrote a multitude of genres but his forte remained novels and plays. His chief literary works include The Count of Monte Cristo, La Tour de Nesle, and The Three Musketeers.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Authors Online
- Judge By The Cover
- Library Hunt
- According to Alex
- The Crossover
- A Musketeer’s Musts
- You’ve Got A Friend
- The Romantics
- Must Reads
- That’s A Wrap!
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Use With Any Curriculum
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