Biography of Alexandre [padre] Dumas (1802-1870)

Narrator and French playwright, born in Villers-Cotterêts (in Aisne, about forty kilometers to the North of Paris) on July 24, 1802, and died in Puys (near Dieppe) on December 5, 1870. Known as 'Dumas father' to distinguish him from his son, the also writer Alexandre Dumas (1824-18955) or "Dumas son", author of the successful novel the Lady of the camellias (1848). Holder of a fluent and entertaining style that progresses with identical ease through the most varied narrative subgenera (Gothic, historical, folkloric, picaresque novel, etc.), "Dumas father" is considered to be one of the most popular and widespread of the French lyrics of all time writers.


Born in the bosom of a wealthy family (was the grandson of the Marquis Antoine-Alexandre Davy of the Pailleterie, and son of the famous general of division Thomas-Alexandre Dumas-Davy of the Pailleterie), inherited his condition of man and the last name of his grandmother Marie-Cesette Dumas Dumas, a black slave from the islands of the West of Santo Domingo with which his grandfather had married the Marquis. Marie-Cesette dead, the Marquis and his son returned to Paris, where the young man decided to enlist in the army despite parental opposition. To evade the surveillance of the Marquis, the father of the writer entered in rows with the last name of her deceased mother, and from then on all his descendants put to Davy of the Pailleterie Dumas.

Once integrated into the French army, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas developed a brilliant military career that allowed him to achieve the general fell orders of the own Napoleón Bonaparte (1769-1821). Fruit of his matrimonial connection with Marie-Louise Labouret (natural of Villers-Cotterêts) was the future writer, who spent a pretty rough childhood due to the thirsty situation in which was his mother following the death of her husband, happened when the small Alexandre had only four years of age. Despite the military merits accumulated by general Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, his widow received from the French State a pension so small that not allowed him to give his son the school training which he/she would have wished; Even so, managed to in 1811 that is to say, when Alexandre Dumas was already nine years old - to enter in a school run by the Abbot Grégorie, in which he/she remained for two years. But living natural intelligence and the ambitious boy spirit prompted him to complete self-taught poor academic instruction he/she had received; and so, in 1816 it was already able to serve in the office of a notary public of their place of origin, as a trainee.

Then, he/she decided to undertake studies of laws; but other youth concerns - such as his excessive fondness for hunting and his incipient interest in literary creation - soon diverted you from this race. At the age of seventeen (1819), Dumas met another young man interested in letters, Adolphe de Leuven, which began collaborating in the drafting of its first literary writings; and, after his first trip to Paris, in 1822, he/she decided that only the gala capital it was going to be possible the development of his artistic and intellectual interests, by what looked to some old friends of his father to get a few letters that enabled him to appear in Paris before some illustrious citizens pertaining to the Bourbons. One of them, general Foy (1765-1825), saw with pleasure the kind nature of the young Alexandre and extremely valued its neat and careful calligraphy, merced, which got a square of clerk in the Ministry of the Duke of Orleans, since paid some fees that amounted to thousand two hundred francs per year. Thanks to the performance of these functions of scribe, Alexandre Dumas could stay in Paris without recourse to the support of his mother, and with enough money to undertake the study of certain disciplines whose knowledge it suited him very helpful. Chemistry was interested, at that time, by some scientific subjects such as physics, and Physiology, which studied alternated with her Secretary work and night reading of the great classics of French literature; and, simultaneously, began to attend some courses of languages, in the midst of a feverish activity that not subtracted him time to star in their first emotional ripples. Fruit of their relationships with Laure Labay, a humble grandiose Parisian, was the birth, July 24, 1824, who would pass to posterity under the name of "Dumas son".

Still, meanwhile, immersed in a feverish activity, heightened now by the many hours devoted to the study of history - another of his intellectual passions-, even left some time free to attend theatrical performances of some classics of universal literature. One night, after having seen an old Parisian Theatre in a staging of Hamlet by Shakespeare (1564-1616), resolved to try his luck as a dramatic author, and began to write a series of plays that initially, fearing the rigid censorship, not unveiled. But, encouraged by his enthusiastic literary vocation - manifest also, at that time, in his dedication to the cultivation of poetry and short fiction-, dared to present their plays to numerous theatrical entrepreneurs who were systematically rejecting them, not to recommend that continue to persevere in theatrical writing, it seemed clear that he/she had a great talent can do you succeed in a complex literary genre.

Thanks to these bittersweet praise, Dumas didn't give up and continued deploying intense creative activity which received an unexpected boost following a tragic episode: the death, in 1825, by his friend and protector general Foy, so mourned by the Parisian people who convened at his funeral ceremony, over a hundred thousand citizens (indeed, was erected in his memory a monument on the cemetery of the East(, and opened a subscription for the support of their children which raised, throughout the national territory, nearly one million francs). Desolate by this loss, "Dumas father" published in the press in the French capital a heartfelt Elegy that was much-praised by the critics and the readers, which earned him a certain literary prestige which soon increased with the publication of some short stories in which demonstrated its unique ability to convert some crucial facts of the historical past that as well had come to know in romantic matters.

Determined to not miss this circumstantial success, in the course of that year of 1825 managed to brand new on a Parisian stage their vaudeville La Chase et L'Amour, written in collaboration with the aforementioned Adolphe of rain, work that garnered a resounding success among critics and the public, and led to the uninterrupted premiere of other many plays by Alexandre Dumasalready converted then into one of the great revelations of the French literature of the time. Applied, therefore hard to the writing and revision of numerous dramatic texts which reported enviable economic stability, objective that had been proposed for reach in order to be able to devote themselves fully to the literary creation; e, installed in a modest room rental of the rue Saint-Denis (where he/she had embraced his mother), he/she devoted himself thereafter to the drafting of their works, which soon placed him among the favorite authors of his contemporaries.

Yet it had failed to thirty years of age when, after the memorable premiere of his play Henri III et sa cour (Enrique III and his court) - verified on February 10, 1829 –, was integrated in the Pleiad of the playwrights who fed the Repertoire of the Comédie Française, convulsed at the time by the irruption of some young authors thanAs Dumas or the great Víctor Hugo (1802-1885), coming to revolutionize, with its romantic spirit, the traditional classicism of this prestigious theatrical institution. From then on, just the aesthetic and ideological forefront of romanticism, Alexandre Dumas acquired a remarkable importance not only in the cultural life of their country, but also in the political and social forums. After the release of his acclaimed play Christine in the Odeon theatre (March 30, 1830), he/she took an active part in the bourgeois revolution of 1830, which eventually raised to the throne of France Luis Felipe of Orleans (1773-1849). The following year, as a result of their relationship with Belle Kreilssammer, her daughter came to the world Marie-Alexandrine (born on March 5, 1831), whose appearance in the life of Alexandre Dumas coincided with the premiere of its drama Anthony, another emblematic piece of the Romantic movement; It can be said that, from this premiere and throughout the period of validity of the romantic tastes, not a theatrical piece that not resorting to the passions overflow put in scene by Dumas was conceived.

At the beginning of the 1930s, the writer of Villers-Cotterêts began to make frequent trips abroad that allowed him to learn about the political, social and cultural reality of other European Nations such as Switzerland (which traveled in 1832), Italy (1835) and Belgium and Germany (1938), and take numerous annotations that were reflected in different travel diaries. But the publication of these, although well received by his already grown legion of followers, not provided greater fame than their theatrical premieres, among which it is obligated to highlight, at this time, the piece entitled Kean or disorder and genius (1836), which not only won the blessing of the criticism and the French public, but also praise from other great European of the time authors, as the great German poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), then settled in Paris.

His final social settlement, endorsed by that economic welfare had been longing for since his youth to be able to devote himself to literary creation, took place in the early 1940s, when, after having married the actress Ida Ferrer (1840), was the Duke of Orleans - one of the most faithful followers of the Dumas - theatre to appoint most of his palace librariana position that he/she had rigged a few high salaries. He/She continued to write many poems ascribed to the romantic aesthetic, and other dramatic works that confirmed its location among the Pleiad of playwrights; but he/she began to Excel, mainly, by its magnificent historical narrations, published by deliveries in the Parisian press, which gave a decisive boost to the then named roman feuilleton ("these novel"). Thus, in the middle of that decade achieved great celebrity by diffusion of Le comte de Monte Cristo (the count of Monte Cristo, 1844-1845), story based on a real tragic event; and started to become world famous for the publication of Les trois mousquetaires (the three Musketeers, 1844), a splendid novel of Swordsmen and intrigues set in the 17TH century, and then continued in Vingt ans après (twenty years later, 1845) and Le vicomte de Bragelonne (the vicomte de Bragelonne, 1848-1850).

Consecrated, in the end, as the greatest novelist French letters of its time (with wide repercussions in other European countries, where his work began to circulate fluently), gave to press other many narrations of great acceptance within the aesthetic of the mid 19th century cannons, as the titled Margot (La Reine Margot, 1845) La reineMémoires d' a medicin: Joseph Balsamo (memories of a physician: José Bálsamo, 1846-1848) - centered on the historical figure of the Sicilian adventurer Alessandro Cagliostro (1743-1795) - Dame La de Montsoreau (the Lady of Montsoreau, 1846), Le chevalier de Maison-Rouge (the Knight of the Casa-Roja, 1847) and Le collier of la reine (the collar of the Queen, 1848-1850). Fruit of the social prestige reached with all of these publications was his active presence in some of the most relevant cultural events of the France of the moment, as the opening of the historic theatre - verified in February 1847, with Dumas as protagonist-, the opening of the Monte Cristo Mansion in Porty-Marly (July 1847), or the Act which was solemnly decorated with chevrons of Commander of the National Guard (held in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the course of that year). But the relevance acquired by the writer of Villers-Cotterêts was not reduced to forums intellectual and artistic of the France of mid-19th century, encouraged by its immense popularity, he/she jumped to the political arenas and engaged fully in the revolution of 1848), in such manner that, when this failed (1851), was forced to move away for a while from Parisian political and social circlesby which fled to Belgium, where he/she found refuge and safety against the avenging zeal of counter-revolutionaries.

In Brussels, where he/she shared exile with other outstanding figures of the French intelligentsia contrary to the policy of Napoleón III (1808-1873) - including the aforementioned Víctor Hugo-"Dumas father" fought in the drafting of their extensive memories, published in twenty-two volumes under the title of month Mémoires (my memories, 1852-1855). Meanwhile, his personal fortune and his literary prestige ran very different fates: on the one hand, his historic theater had gone to ruin in 1850, after only three years of operation; on the other hand, had followed leaving Street narratives new endorsed that, like the black Tulip (1850) and Ángel Pitou (1853), rendered him succulent profits, although they failed to cover the astronomical costs incurred by the rampant train of life that had begun to take as soon as he/she knew rich (is fame that squandered his fortune on disparate journeys, orgiastic debauchery, fine wines and other expensive hobbies, such as constantly acquire the flowers more expensive and exotic; but it is also true that contributed significantly to his ruin his business failures, notably the bankruptcy of the mentioned historic theatre).

I lived, then, a day with the fruit of their editorial news, very proud of his literary glory and unexpected prestige reached also by his son, who dazzled the Paris cultural and artistic mid-century with Le Dame aux Camelies (La Dama de las Camelias, 1848). And remained strongly interested in the most burning political issues, which, coupled with a new tour of Italy in 1859, urged his romantic and adventurous spirit to provide direct support to the patriotic cause of Garibaldi (1807-1882), who came to know personally in 1860. You have been put at your service in Sicily and have him escorted to Marseille to acquire part of the armament of troops, there followed beside her until after the stunning victory of the thousand "red shirts", he/she was appointed by the boss Garibaldi of explorations and museums in Naples, where the "Dumas father" lived until 1864. His intense collaboration with the expedition of Garibaldi was his testimonial volume entitled Les garibaldiens (the garibaldinos, 1861).

In 1865 he/she travelled around much of France and some parts of Europe speaking conferences, and already closed the long hiatus of consecration to the Italian unification, resumed his fertile creative work, already through the writing of new literary works, already through the Foundation of some prominent periodical publications of a cultural nature, in which he/she collaborated regularly until the day of his death. Its condition of multi-faceted author led him to write, from 1868, a voluminous culinary Treaty which, published under the title of Grand dictionnaire de cuisine (great dictionary of cuisine, 1873), was not released until after his death.

At the beginning of 1870, Alexandre Dumas, virtually bankrupt after despifarrado a substantial fortune, was the need to retire to the cottage his famous son had acquired in Puys. Little serving him, next to meet the seventy years of age, the huge profits time ago by the two hundred fifty-seven volumes of novels, stories and memories that had been published in life, and of the twenty-five volumes that had been collecting his theatrical pieces. Maintained by his son, he/she lived in calm about a year with the channel, until death surprised him on December 5, 1870. In 2002, when the bicentenary of his birth, was fulfilled his mortal remains were transferred to the Pantheon in Paris.


Author verbose and multifaceted, "Dumas father" was one of the pioneers of the later called "literature of consumption". The breadth and variety of his work, spread largely through the media, captivated thousands of readers they were waiting, anxious, the delivery periodic corresponding chapter, which often forced the author to employ a series of auxiliary editors that, subject to characteristics of his style, clarity and simplicity helped him continue his folletinescas novels according to plot routes that he/she was responsible for plotting. This remarkable production capacity by fruit gave a large number of works that, certainly not excelled for its literary quality; but it is undeniable that the strength and ability of Dumas to consider complicated intrigues, generating bizarre adventures, build colorful characters and conceive situations of great suspense gave his novels an interest and a dynamism that fulfill the aspirations of many popular readers, who also remained easily the arguments of the author of Villers-Cotterêts thanks to the simplicity and neatness of his prose.

Indeed, many novels which gave him a well-deserved prestige literary saw the light between the pages of some Rotary Parisians (among them, Le Siècle), in which Dumas was developing a unique ability to interrupt the course of the narration in the most tense point of intrigue, which forced his wide legion of followers to wait for, true forward, the publication of the following delivery. Regarding his talent when constructing their narratives, it should be noted that, although it could be tedious and repetitive in the presentation of certain characters and situations, the truth is that, without being a great writer, it had a powerful inventiveness that dosing quite rightly, and I knew sort naturally narrative materials achieves up to works that captured rigidly to the popular reader. We should add, in this regard, although he/she possessed a clear and entertaining, style suitable to the cultural level of the general public that were directed his novels, at the same time achieving, without abandoning that line style of great transparency and simplicity, expressive CCG.

Given the vastness of the literary work of Alexandre Dumas, below is a list - as exhaustive as possible, within a review of this nature-of your print production, listed in chronological order:

"Elégie sur la mort du géneral Foy" ("Elegy for the death of general Foy", 1825); Henri III et sa cour (Enrique III and his court, 1829); Christine (1830); Napoleon Bonaparte (1831); Anthony (1831); The Tower of Nesle (1832); A bal masqué (a masked ball, 1833); Catherine Howard (1834); Kean or disorder and genius (1838); The Alchemist (1939); Le Maître d'armes (Knight, 1840); Aventures of John Davis (the adventures of John Davis, 1840); Lorenzino (1840); Ascanio (1843); Le chevalier d'Harmental (the Knight of Harmental, 1843); Une fille du Regent (a daughter of the Regent, 1844); Les Frères corsets (the Corsican brothers, 1844); Les trois mousquetaires (the three Musketeers, 1844); Vingt ans après (twenty years later, 1845); Le comte de Monte Cristo (the count of Monte Cristo, 1845); Le guerre des femmes (the war of women, 1845); La reine Margot (La Reine Margot, 1845); Le chevalier de Maison-Rouge (the Knight of the Red House, 1846); Dame la de Montsoreau (the Lady of Montsoreau, 1846); Les deux Diannes (two bullseyes, 1846); Mémoires d' a medicin: Joseph Balsamo (memories of a physician: José Bálsamo, 1846); Les quarante-cinq (the forty and five, 1847); Le vicomte de Bragellone (the vicomte de Bragelonne, 1848); Le collier de la reine (the Queen's Necklace, 1849); Le vingt-quatre Février (the twenty-fourth of February, 1850); Le Tulipe Noire (Tulip black, 1850); Le Trou de l'enfer (the mouth of hell, 1850); Gil Blass in California (a Gil Blas in California, 1851); Angel Pitou (1853); The comtesse de Charny (the Countess of Charny, 1853); Le page du duc de Savoie: Emmanuel Philibert (the page of the Duke of Savoy: Emmanuel Philibert, 1855); Les compagnons de Jehu (the comapneros of Jehu, 1857); L'horoscope (horoscope, 1858); Les louves de Machecoul (the Wolves of Machecoul, 1859); Une aventure d'amour (an adventure of love, 1860); Memories of Garibaldi (memoirs of Garibaldi, 1860); and Grand dictionarie of cuisine (great dictionary of cuisine, 1873).

Other works of minor importance are the theatrical pieces entitled Caligula, Carlos VII, Richard Darlington, Don Juan, Madmoiselle de Belle-Isle, a wedding under Luis XV and the girls from Saint-Cyr; novels costubristas and picaresque bandits of Osuna, from Paris to Cadiz, the father Hiraux and Pamphilus captain; Gothic narratives the thousand and one ghosts, the woman of the collar of velvet and Meulien Paulina; and historical novels Olympus of Cleves (1852), the Mohicans of Paris (1854-1855) and the white and the blue (1867-1868).

The count of Monte Cristo(1844-1845)

Wrongfully accused of military in the ranks of bonapartism, the young captain Edmond Dantès - that has had the opportunity to prove its value and nobility in many actions have allowed it - is arrested in Marseille the day of your wedding and reduced to imprisonment in the Château D'if. There meets another prisoner, the Abbé Faria, who reveals the existence of a rich treasure that remains well hidden in a cave on the island of Monte Cristo. Fourteen years after the entry of Dantes in his cell, the death of the Abbot will lead to his escape: after having supplanted his corpse, is thrown into the sea, where barely manages to stay afloat until seen by a ship. Get then get to the island of Montecristo, in which is the fabulous treasure that his unfortunate companion of presidio speak to him. Backed by this immense fortune, decide to change personality and, calling themselves "count of Monte Cristo", returns to France, where from then on his life will have a single purpose: revenge cold and thoroughly of all who have caused their misfortune. After having figured out that their cookies were Fernand and Danglars - two rival in their loving skirmishes, who moved exclusively the spite and jealousy, discovered also that his ignoble indictment had failed never the end desired by them have not counted with the complicity of Villeford, a young magistrate devoid of scruples whose ambition led him to condemn Dantes with the only hope of ascending in his political career. In the midst of numerous ups and downs that constantly keep the romantic intrigue, the count of Monte Cristo will carrying out its slow, meticulous and relentless retaliation, culminating in shedding light on the murky judicial process that led to jail the young captain Dantes. Restored his honour and punished those responsible for his unjust imprisonment, the count of Monte Cristo, in the company of the beautiful Haydee, becomes the sea heading to the East.

The three Musketeers(1844)

On their way to Paris, in where he/she expects to increase his declining fortune, the young gascon d'Artagnan stumbles upon Athos, Porthos and Aramis, three Musketeers of the King, after making friends and, in a way, the young guards, help you in its purpose of becoming also the musketeer. Already in the service of the King, d'Artagnan and his three comrades will be wrapped up in the devious intrigues constantly deployed by Cardinal Richelieu, who attends their perfidious plans a wicked secret agent, Milady de Winter. One of the most delicate missions that will have to carry out the Musketeers will be the safeguard the honor of the Queen, who, in proof of his love, had given to her lover, the Duke of Buckingham, jewels which in turn had given her her husband, King Luis XIII. With the order to retrieve the twelve diamond studs until the monarch find out that they work not in the possession of his wife (what will notice easily if he/she does not carry them at a party in which her husband has asked expressly look them), the Musketeers undertake a sensitive secret mission culminating in the execution of the treacherous Miladywho, with his lack of moral scruples has killed the Duke of Buckingham and a hostess of the Queen that d'Artagnan was in love. Richelieu, whose political savvy has allowed him to stay in the shade in all the intrigue, just by acknowledging the merits of d'Artagnan and ascend him to the grade of Lieutenant; but his old comrades, appalled by the political Wiles and the falsity of the palatial life, decided not to pursue his side: Athos retires to the tranquility of rural life, Porthos contracts marriage and Aramis, so spiritual as always, takes the habits of Abbot at a monastery.

Twenty years later(1845)

Four decades have passed since the separation of the Musketeers and d'Artagnan, now with the rank of Lieutenant and in the service of Cardinal Mazarino, tries by all the media recover his three former colleagues. Porthos is excited by this return to action, since it houses the hope of gathering, through its services to the King, the merits necessary to receive the title of baron who both longs; but Athos and Aramis do not share his enthusiasm, since they are more inclined towards the Fronde, a political movement contrary to Mazarin and absolute monarchy. By different routes, the four former colleagues is reunited in England, where are beset by the annihilating rage of Mordaunt, a son of Milady stubborn in avenging his mother. Aware of the direct intervention of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d'Artagnan in the Elimination of his mother, Mordaunt had planned to fly the ship in which the four return to France; but the Musketeers get to leave the ship shortly before the explosion. Mordaunt has gone malparado in the execution of the attack that he/she planned; But even so, his vengeful hatred allows you to gather their strength to try to drag into the depths to Athos, who manages to save himself after having killed his implacable enemy.

The vicomte de Bragelonne(1848)

After ten years from the last story narrated in the second installment of the series, d'Artagnan, now with the rank of Captain of the Musketeers, is put again in search of his three comrades to engage them in a delicate mission: Assistant to Carlos II of England in its quest to regain the throne that had been wrested from his late father. Again it will be Porthos who, driven by their desire to climb the social ladder, accept without conditions the proposal of d'Artagnan. But the other two Musketeers have other concerns: Athos does not see with good eyes the affair brought the young ambitious Luisa La Vallière, who is secretly willing to offer her charms and her son Raúl, vicomte de Bragelonne, King Luis XIV; and Aramis, recently elevated to the highest area of the Jesuit hierarchy, has discovered in his privileged position a terrible secret that keeps hidden the French monarchy: Luis XIV has a twin brother who was separated from the Court as soon as born, amid fears that one day it could pose problems in the line of succession. Felipe - thus called the King's secret brother - has grown in the field away from the Royal family, and ignoring their inheritance rights at all times. When Aramis discovers their existence, it is proposed to impersonate Luis XIV - that has become a tyrant - authentic by his twin brother, in the hope that this rule with justice and rationality. To carry out their risky plan, Aramis claims the collaboration of his old comrades, but clashes in its attempt to Athos and d'Artagnan, who are loyal to Luis XIV; Porthos, on the other hand, will collaborate with Aramis, naively believing that serves the legitimate monarch. To the dessert, one of the Royal twins end up being known as "the man in the iron mask", in allusion to that forging permanently covering his face so be warned not their amazing resemblance with the face of who occupies the throne of France.


Jimenez PLAZA, Dolores and REAL RAMOS, Elena [eds. lits.]. Alexandre Dumas pere: a façon d' être soi (Valencia: Universidad de Valencia, service publications, 1997).