Alexandre Dumas, one of the prominent French writers, was born on the 24th of July in 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts, France. Alexandre was born to Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, a French general, and Élisabeth Labouret, a homemaker. Unfortunately, his father died when he was just four, leaving the family in a deep financial crisis and struggling life. Although Thomas’s death was a huge blow to the family, it failed to shake the determination of young Alexander, who followed his passion for reading and writing.
Since his father died early, his formal education stayed rudimentary. He was mostly educated by the priests and private tutors. After getting initial grounding from informal sources, he entered professional life to become a lawyer. After spending a few years in this profession, he headed toward Paris, where he secured the position of clerk to Duc d’Orleans. Besides, he started reading great works of classic writers and began to attend theatre as well. These two preoccupations of his youth years provided him the ability to use clinical precision in his novels to move the story forward.
Besides winning a fortune as a writer, Alexandre Dumas was passionate about women. Although he married Ida Ferrier, a great actress of her time, on the 1st of February in 1814, he continued with his affairs with other women and is stated to have four illegitimate children, too.
Some Important Facts about Him
- After providing a bulk of literary wonders, this great writer breathed his last on the 5th of December in 1870.
- The French government honored him by naming a Metro Station to him in 1970.
It is surprising that despite having little formal education, Alexandre Dumas became a top-published writer at a very young age. Starting his writing career with short articles for different magazines, he soon sharpened his pent for plays for the theatre. His first and acclaimed play Henry III and His Courts, hit the stage in 1829 when Alexandre was just twenty-seven. Following this success, he came with another, Christine, the following year, and it, too, received a huge appraisal. Now he was at the stage of earning sufficient to become a full-time writer. He came up with his first serial novel, Le Capitaine Paul, in 1838, followed by an eight-volume collection of essays, Celebrated Crimes.
In the essays, he targeted the famous crimes and criminals of European history as well as discussed the cases of alleged murders of famous historical figures. It was followed by his other history based-work, The Fencing Master, featuring the Decembrist revolt that took place in Russia. Unfortunately, Dumas became the subject of criticism after expressing his bold stance toward this significant historic event and was prohibited from visiting the country. However, these restrictions could not change his opinion; he continued expressing his ideas fearlessly in his works. Interestingly, his writing passion was not confined to literary or historical pieces; he also produced books about the exciting details of his travel to different countries.
Like most prolific literary figures, Alexander Dumas’s popularity as an author lies in his writing style, which eventually makes him stand out among other writers. It is a blend of elements of realism, humor, and romance. This mixture has an uncanny allurement for the readers to start reading and end it before starting some other work. For example, his most celebrated work, The Three Musketeers, follows a simple narrative style, expressive diction, and cliffhanging technique. Hence, it is natural that a reader’s interest is aligned with the story until he ends it. Another distinct quality of his writing style is the use of vivid characterization, which means his characters have personalities of their own. Regarding literary devices, he often turns toward symbolism, allegory, allusions, imagery, and sound devices. Some of the major themes in his writings are politics, hopes, the strength of friendship, romance, and the nature of mankind.
Some Important Works of Alexandre Dumas
- Best Fictional Works: Some of his best writings include Acté of Corinth; or, The Convert of St. Paul. a tale of Greece and Rome, The Three Musketeers, Isaac Laquedem, The Hunter and the Lover, The Chronicles of France: Isabel of Bavaria, The Son of the Night, and The Young Ladies of Saint-Cyr.
- Other Works: Besides writing fictional texts, he tried his hands on nonfictional writings too. Some of them include Travel Impressions in the Kingdom of Napoli/Naples Trilogy, Impressions de voyage: En Suisse, Le Journal de Madame Giovanni, Castle Eppstein; The Spectre Mother, and The Mohicans of Paris.
Alexander Dumas’s Impact on Future Literature
Alexander Dumas’s philosophical and witty ideas won him a great name during his lifetime. His appealing thoughts about crime and criminality, vivid descriptions of romance and humor, and philosophy about man’s nature never disappeared from the pages of history. The universality of his works keeps his popularity going on even after his demise. As he has reached every nook and cranny of the world through translations, it seems that the magic and allurement of his style will continue to reverberate across the globe in stories and novels being written today.
- “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you” (The Count of Monte Cristo)
- “Learning does not make one learned: there are those who have knowledge and those who have understanding. The first requires memory and the second philosophy.” (The Count of Monte Cristo)
- “Athos liked every one to exercise his own free-will. He never gave his advice before it was demanded and even then it must be demanded twice.”In general, people only ask for advice,” he said “that they may not follow it or if they should follow it that they may have somebody to blame for having given it”.” (The Three Musketeers)