Alexandre Dumas

Portrait of Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas: (also known as Alexandre Dumas père) was a French novelist and playwright. He was born in Villers-Cotterets, France on 24th July 1802 and died in Seine-Maritime on 5th December 1870 aged 68.

Major Works

“The Count of Monte Cristo” (1844).
“The Three Musketeers” (1844).
“The Man in the Iron Mask” (1845).
“The Vicomte de Bragelonne” (1847).

Biography Timeline

Alexandre Dumas (originally known as Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was born on 24th July 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts, in France. He was the son of General Thomas Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailetterie who was of mixed race from Saint-Domingue and Marie-Louise Labouret, the daughter of an innkeeper.

1811: He enters Abbé Grégoire’s school. 

1813: He finishes school.

1816: Dumas becomes a clerk for a solicitor in Villers-Cotterêts although he is not interested in studying the law.

1819: He meets Adolphe de Leuven with whom he will write his first literary works. 

1822: He visits Paris for the first time.

1823: He settles in Paris permanently and works in the office of the Duke of Orléans.

1824: His son Aleandre Dumas Fils is born on 24th July after a love affair with Laure Labay.

1825: The first performance of his play “La Chasse et l’amour” (Hunting and Loving) jointly written with Leuven takes place. 

1829: “Henri the Third and his Court” is performed at the Comédie Française on 10th February and is well received by the audience. 

1830: “Christine” receives its premiere on 5th March at the Theatre de l”Odeon and the income from his first two plays allows him to devote himself full time to writing. The 1830 revolution begins in France and Dumas is involved.

1831: His daughter Marie-Alexandrine is born in March to the actress Belle Kreilssamner. On 3rd May Dumas’s play “Antony” is first performed at the Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin and it is a triumph establishing him as a major writer.

1832: He visits Switzerland and meets the writer François-René de Chateaubriand.

1833: “Impressions de Voyage–Suisse” is first published. 

1835: He visits Italy.

1836: He writes his first novel serialised in a newspaper, “La Comtesse de Salisbury; Édouard the Third”.

1838: He tours Belgium and Germany. Dumas rewrites one of his plays “Le Capitaine Paul” about the American naval officer John Paul Jones as a serial novel.

1839: He writes “Celebrated Crimes”, an eight-volume collection of essays on famous criminals from European history with other friends. 

1840: Dumas gets married to the actress Ida Ferrier on 1st February and they spend a holiday in Italy. “The Fencing Master”,“Impressions de Voyage-Excursions sur les Bords du Rhin” and “Souvenirs de Voyage-une Année à Florence” are published.

1841: Publication of “Le Chevalier d’Harmental.”

1843: He writes the short novel “Georges” which uses material that he would later use again in “The Count of Monte Cristo”

1844: He buys land in Port-Marly to have a house built. Despite his healthy earnings he always lives beyond his means and it has been estimated that he had over forty mistresses in his lifetime. He begins writing full scale novels. “LesTrois Mousquetaires”“Une Fille du Régent” and “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo” are all written in this year. 

1845: “Vingt Ans Après”“Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge” and “La Dame de Monsoreau” are published.

1846: He travels to Spain and then to North-Africa. “Le Bâtard de Mauléon”, “Joseph Balsamo” and “Une Fille du Régent” are published. The spacious Château de Monte-Cristo is begun complete with writing stuio.

1847: In February he opens the Théâtre Historique and moves into his house in Port-Marly. “La Reine Margot”,“Impressions de Voyage”, “de Paris à Cadix”, “Les Quarante-Cinq”, “Le Vicomte de Bragelonne” are published.

1848: He fails to be elected as a Member of Parliament. “Le Collier de la Reine” and “La Dame aux Camélias” are published.

1849: Château de Monte-Cristo is auctioned due to Dumas’s debts. “Les Mille et un Fantômes” is published.

1850: He is prosecuted for several debts and the Théâtre Historique is declared bankrupt. “La Tulipe Noire” and “Ange Pitou” are published.

1851: He flees to Brussels to escape prosecution and because he is unpopular with Napoleon the Third, now the ruler of France. “Olympe de Clèves” and “Mes Mémoires” are published.

1852: He travels in Germany and the Netherlands. “La Comtesse de Charny” and “Isaac Laquedem” are published.

1853: He settles his bankruptcy.

1854: He returns to Paris. “Les Mohicans de Paris” and “Le Page du Duc de Savoie” are published.

1857: He travels to Guernsey where Victor Hugo is living in exile. He then tours England and Germany. “Le Meneur de Loups” is published.

1858: From June onwards, Dumas travels in Russia. “Les Louves de Machecoul” is published.

1859: He visits Italy.

1860: He travels with his mistress Emilie Cordier on a boat on the Mediterranean. 

1861: In March the Kingdom of Italy is proclaimed, with Victor Emmanuel II as its King. Dumas travels there and meets Giuseppe Garibaldi in Sicily and helps him in his struggle for unification and aids him in a visit to Marseille to buy arms for his soldiers. Garibaldi later appoints Dumas Chief of Excavations and Museums, in Naples. He starts the newspaper “L’Indipendente” in Naples.

1863: “La San Felice” is published.

1864: He returns to France and sets up home in Enghien. 

1865: He travels in Austria and Hungary.

1866: He has an affair with Adah Isaacs Menken, an American actress.

1867: “Les Blancs et les Bleus” and “La Terreur Prussienne” are published.

1869: He begins work on his Dictionnaire de Cuisine in Brittany. “Le Docteur Mystérieux” and “La Fille du Marquis” are published.

1870: Dumas lives in his son’s house in Puys.

Alexandre Dumas died on 5th December 1870 in Puys of natural causes. He was buried at his birthplace of Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne. His “Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine” was finally published in 1873 after his death.