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Alexandre Dumas A Great Life In Brief

AbeBooks Bookseller Since: April 10, Items related to Alexandre Dumas - a great life in brief. Home Andre Maurois Alexandre Dumas - a great life in brief. Save for Later. About this Item 'The author''s life as his greatest masterpiece. Nice bright clean crisp copy of HB 1st w jacket. Bookseller Inventory Ask Seller a Question. He returned to the theatre with Kean , but Romantic drama had peaked and the public was finding new gods to worship.

The Life of Alexandre Dumas, Classic Adventure Writer

In , two Paris dailies halved their cover price by accepting advertisements. Newspaper proprietors then discovered that running novels in instalments boosted circulation and that the words 'To be continued' were an infallible recipe for brand loyalty. The roman feuilleton offered huge rewards to novelists who could supply high-octane fiction to order. It was thus Dumas's good fortune to coincide with the rise of the popular press and the printing revolution which lowered the price of books.

But he also had the knack and the relish for it, not to mention the stamina which kept him at his desk for 14 hours at a stretch. He was careless with money, keeping cash in a tobacco-jar from which friends helped themselves, and when out of funds he didn't scruple to borrow his cab fare from whomever was on hand.

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He squandered the advances he received and sentenced himself cheerfully to a game of catch-up, writing to honour contracts and signing new ones in order to stay solvent. He spent far too much to be rich. Within three years, his theatre had failed and he was forced to sell his house at a loss to an American dentist. Dumas rolled up his sleeves, sharpened a new quill he hated steel nibs , and signed yet more new contracts. He had loathed the bourgeois reign of Louis-Philippe and, after the Revolution of had brought it to an end, stood as a liberal candidate in three elections held that year.

Each time he polled only a few hundred votes, partly because his republicanism, though sincere, was naive, and perhaps because of his way with hecklers, who might find themselves tipped into the nearest river. But while Hugo retreated to lofty political and poetic exile in the Channel Islands, Dumas, friend of kings and loved by all, went on courting publicity. His pen was an extension of his exuberant personality.

He also wrote engaging, informative books about countries he had never visited.

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Just as Georges had evoked Mauritius, so Un Gil Blas en Californie was a vivid description of life in gold-mad San Francisco culled from newspaper articles and conversations with a man who had been there. He travelled, in his customary style, to Russia, where 'the great Dumas', now the most famous living Frenchman, was given a hero's welcome.

He added to his collection of medals and honours, and designed a 'Russian' costume which featured bear fur and a belt of bullets. On his return in , he decided to sail round the Near East and bring back a Mediterranean saga which would describe the world of Napoleon, Augustus, Constantine, Christ, Sesostris, Hannibal and El Cid.

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But in Turin he met Garibaldi, who had not forgotten the support Dumas had given in to the liberators of Montevideo. He invited Dumas to translate and rewrite his memoirs as a way of publicising a new cause: the unification of Italy. When he heard in May that Garibaldi had sailed for Sicily, Dumas changed his plans and followed in his schooner, the Emma.

But not with all convenient speed. He missed the taking of Palermo, having dallied at Marseille to throw a party and stopped for a day in Sardinia to hunt wild boar. When he arrived, the battle was won, though the struggle to unite Italy continued. Dumas sailed back to Marseille, bought guns for the cause and returned, anchoring the Emma in the bay of Naples while the battle raged in the city.

He wore a white costume, bombarded the city with revolutionary proclamations from his own printing press, distributed guns, and set his on-board tailors to sew red shirts for Garibaldi's Thousand.

When Naples fell, he made no effort to conceal his delight at the collapse of the regime which had wrecked his father's life. He broke out the champagne and organised a victory display of fireworks which he had brought for the purpose. He was declared a hero and given a palace in which to live for a year. He promptly founded an Italian-language newspaper, L'Indipendente, most of the contents of which he wrote himself.

It is vintage Dumas, overflowing with the glorious immodesty of a man who spent his energies with the same relish as he parted with money. Like his fiction, it is populated by roundheads who plot and oppress, and cavaliers who serve honour and justice. Mean spirits wage eternal war on freedom and tolerance, not in ideological terms but through events and emotions which either unite or divide his characters: jealousy, hate, ambition on the one hand; loyalty, comradeship and love on the other.

But while the ultimate victory of the cavaliers is not in doubt, it comes at a price. Dumas is less than optimistic about the notion that love conquers all, and he makes us aware that the true enemy of human happiness is not Milady or Cromwell but the persistence of evil. Not even the Musketeers can prevent the execution of Charles I.


But Charles on the scaffold has murmured 'Remember' and the Musketeers do not forget. They return 10 years later, bring down Cromwell and restore Charles II to his throne. Like them, Dumas did not believe in fate.

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He accepted that villainy is ineradicable, that some battles won't be won. The well reception of his plays earned him enough to begin a full-time writing career. 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 s, 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.