Alexandre Dumas: Creator of Adventure September 30 2014, 0 Comments
by Bethany Wagner
In 1808, in northern France, a young boy listens to his widowed mother weave incredible tales of his father’s bravery and heroic efforts during the French Revolutionary War. Sabers flash and cannons fire before his eyes as he imagines his father charging forward on his horse to save the day. This boy—Alexandre Dumas—never forgot those legendary stories. He grew up to be one of the most widely read French authors and creator of captivating high adventure tales such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
As a child, Dumas showed signs of a sharp mind, but growing up in poverty, he was denied an elite education. Undaunted, Dumas read voraciously and taught himself Spanish, eventually acquiring an office job in Paris.
And it was in Paris that Dumas began writing magazine articles and plays. His first few plays were wildly successful, allowing him to work full-time as a playwright, and eventually as a novelist. He soon established a production studio with writers who turned out hundreds of stories all subject to his direction and revisions.
His works continued to capture the evil and good of humanity, and the constant struggle between the two, in settings of suspense and adventure. In The Count of Monte Cristo, the happily engaged sailor Edmond Dantes is framed for crimes and sent to the feared prison Chateau d’If. On a journey of daring feats, suspense, mystery, and disguise, Dantes must make the choice between holding onto revenge or pursuing a new life.
Like the mysterious count in The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas led a lifestyle of extravagance at his large country estate Chateau de Monte-Cristo, also continuing a longtime hobby: fencing. He had a great respect for his fencing master Augustine Grisier, whose instruction greatly influenced his writing, most notably in The Three Musketeers saga. These works, which begin with The Three Musketeers and culminate with The Man in the Iron Mask, tell the now-famous tale of the Musketeers of the Guard and d’Artagnan, a young man who seeks to join them.
Over the course of his lifetime, Dumas published a total of 100,000 pages. His works became so popular that they were soon translated into other languages and spread across the continent. Today, his works have been translated into nearly 100 languages and made into almost 200 films. In 2005, his unfinished last novel The Knight of Sainte-Hermine was published and became a bestseller.
More than a century after his death, the tales and words of Alexandre Dumas still capture the imaginations of young and old.