| Share
 

Alexandre Dumas

Dumas, Alexandre, known as Dumas fils (älĕksäNˈdrə dümäˈ, fēs) [key], 1824–95, French dramatist and novelist, illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas (1802–70, Dumas Père). He was the chief creator of the 19th-century comedy of manners. His first important play, La Dame aux camélias (1852, tr. 1856), known in English as Camille, was a sensation. It was based on a partly autobiographical novel of the same title, which he had published in 1848. Portraying a love affair of a courtesan, the play became the vehicle of many famous actresses, including Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and Greta Garbo, and it was the basis of Verdi's opera La Traviata. Another successful play, Le Demi-Monde (1855, tr. 1858), aroused much discussion because of its portrayal of the licentious world of mid-19th-century French society. In later plays Dumas preached a revolt against romantic morality, the excesses of the wealthy, and bourgeois puritanism and propounded social and psychological questions. His stage works are notable for skillful construction, though the characterizations are somewhat lacking in vitality. His novels include Tristan le Roux (1850) and Diane de Lys (1853). Among his best plays are also The Money Question (1857, tr. 1915), Le Fils naturel [the natural son] (1858), Les Idées de Mme Aubray (1867), L'Étrangère [the strange woman] (1876), and Denise (1885). His early essays, Entr'actes (1878–79), are mostly on social subjects. In 1874 he was elected to the French Academy.

See study by H. S. Schwarz (1927, repr. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Literature: Biographies


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring