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Dueling Dumas’s

Dumas pere

On this day, 23-year-old Alexandre Dumas fights his first duel. He sustains no serious injury, although his pants fall down in the fight. He’ll later fill his romantic works, including The Three Musketeers, with duels, battles, and daring escapades.
Dumas was the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, Thomas Alexandre Dumas, and a Haitian slave woman, Marie Cessette Dumas. Because he was born of mixed heritage and yet still to prominence, Dumas weas sent to receive rich education, but his family struggled financially after his father’s death in 1806. Dumas went to Paris to find work and was hired by the household of the Duke D’Orleans, who became King Louis-Philippe. Dumas began writing plays, which became huge hits with the public, then turned to historical novels. He published The Three Musketeers in 1844, followed by The Count of Monte Cristo in 1845.
Dumas led a tempestuous life filled with ruinous love affairs. Women loved him for his uniqueness of looks (he was Negro/French) and his attention to detail in ALL areas. He fathered many illegitimate children. His illegitimate son, Dumas fils ( French for son), also became a writer-the two were later known as the “Deuling Dumas’s “.
The son reacted against his father’s lifestyle by writing highly regarded contemporary dramas supporting marriage and family, with titles like “The Natural Son” (1848) and “The Prodigal Father” (1859) .  Dumas fils was almost 10 years old before his father recognized him, but when that happened Dumas pere stepped in with a vengenace and sent his son to the best boarding schools of the day to receive the best education possible.  French law allowed Dumas the elder to remove the child from his mother and in turn, her agony inspired Dumas fils to write prolifically about tragic female characters.  One of his most popular plays was The Illegitimate Son, in which he espoused the belief that if a man fathers an illegitimate child, he has an obligation to legitimize the child in any way possible, either by marriage or by law.  During the 1840’s, Dumas fils wrote the romantic novel The Lady of the Camellias, which in English would be translated as Camille.  Like some of his father’s works, Camille is considered a classic in literature, and serves as the basis for the Verdi opera, La Traviata.
Dumas pere died in 1870, his last known major work, nearly completed, The Last Cavalier(Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine, 1869), was lost until its rediscovery by Claude Schopp in 1988 and subsequent release in 2005.
Five years after his death, Dumas fils was admitted to the elite Academie Francaise. He wrote one more play, Denise, ten years before his death in 1895.
Dumas fils
Such is Passion, and the brighter its blaze the blacker the ruins it leaves after it–the deeper the misery–the wider the loneliness. It devours itself, with no revival like the Phoenix; but Love occupies the whole of life, however extended, and still has the strength and volume to transport its worshipers to the realm of the happy.–Ch.22, The Son of Clemenceau  ~ Dumas fils


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