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Alexandre Dumas Birth Anniversary: 5 Books You Must Read By the French Author

Alexandre Dumas was a prolific literary persona, well versed in several genres of writing.

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Updated:July 24, 2019, 3:14 PM IST
Alexandre Dumas Birth Anniversary: 5 Books You Must Read By the French Author
Alexandre Dumas 217th birth anniversary

One of the most prolific French authors of his time, whose works have been translated into multiple languages, the novels by Alexandre Dumas have formed the basis for over 200 films since the early twentieth century. A prolific literary persona, well versed in several genres, Dumas, who was born on July 24, 1802, began his career by writing plays. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books and his published works are a total of 100,000 pages. English playwright Watts Phillips would later go on to describe Dumas as one of the most "generous, large-hearted being in the world."

The natural son of the marquis Alexandre Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman and Marie-Cessette Dumas, a slave of Afro-Caribbean ancestry, he was brought to France by his father and legally freed there, and at 31 was promoted to general, the first soldier of Afro-Antilles origin to reach that rank in the French army.

On his 217 birth anniversary, here are 5 books by the author that one must read.

The Count of Monte Cristo (1844): An adventure novel by the author, the story takes place in France, Italy, and islands in the Mediterranean during the historical events of 1815–1839: the era of the Bourbon Restoration through the reign of Louis-Philippe of France. The book centers on a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes jail, acquires a fortune, and sets about exacting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. However, his plans have devastating consequences for both innocent and the guilty.

The Three Musketeers (1844): Situated between 1625 and 1628, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. Although d'Artagnan is not able to join the elite corps immediately, he befriends the three most formidable musketeers of the age – Athos, Porthos and Aramis and gets involved in affairs of the state and court. Notably, Dumas frequently worked into the plot various injustices, abuses, and absurdities of the old regime, giving it a political dimension, when the debate in France between republicans and monarchists was still fierce.

Twenty Years After (1845): The novel follows events during the childhood reign of Louis XIV, and in England near the end of the English Civil War, leading up to the victory of Oliver Cromwell and the execution of King Charles I.

The Queen's Necklace (1849): The novel follows the French Revolution of 1848. It is loosely based on the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, an episode involving fraud and royal scandal that made headlines at the court of Louis XVI in the 1780s.

The Knight of Sainte-Hermine (2005): The unfinished historical novel by Alexandre Dumas, believed to be Dumas' last major work was lost until the late twentieth century, when Dumas scholar Claude Schopp found an almost-complete copy in the form of a newspaper serial. The novel is a tale set during the rise of the Napoleonic Empire and a key scene features the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of British admiral Horatio Nelson. An English version was published in 2007 as The Last Cavalier.

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