“Why do you mention my father?” screamed he; “Why do you mingle a recollection of him with the affairs of today?” – Edmond Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
This week, I’m continuing my mini-series about the three men named Alexandre Dumas: Alexandre Dumas the war hero; his son, Alexandre Dumas the author; and his grand-son, Alexandre Dumas the playwright. Together, all three men rose to the top of their professions, garnering tremendous fame and respect, all while struggling to overcome the racial boundaries of their times. As paintings and portraits were discreetly touched up, as biographies were edited, the world forgot an essential fact of the Dumas family: these great cultural titans were biracial men, descended from aristocrats and slaves, and their contemporaries never let them forget it.
This week, we’ll explore the story of Alexandre Dumas, the great author, who turned a poor, uneducated upbringing into a literary gold mine which catapulted him to the top of French society – at least, until the money ran out…
Episode 19: “The Three Alexandres, Part 3”
Claude Schopp, Alexander Dumas: Genius of Life. (In all honesty, I can’t recommend this. I hope it’s a poor translation, but it’s nearly unreadable.)
André Maurois, The Titans: A Three-Generation Biography of the Dumas.
19th century English-language periodical: The Author, vol. 5-6 (1895) (relevant)
George Saintsbury, The Fortnightly Review, vol. 30 (1878) (relevant)
The Athenaeum, 1846 archives. (relevant)
Further Reading (Alexandre Dumas, duh):
Duh, it’s time to check out the masterpiece The Count of Monte Cristo. If you’ve read it before, revisit the text with new perspective – how does this book reflect the life of General Dumas in his search for justice? for dignity? If you don’t have time (it’s a long read, but an easy one), the 2002 film adaptation showcases terrific storylines and terrific cheekbones (hay-o).