Alexandre Dumas fils

Dumas, Alexandre ( (Dumas fils), 1824–95, French dramatist and novelist)

Alexandre Dumas, known as Dumas fils (älĕksäN´drə dümä´, fēs), 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 Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Titans: A Three-Generation Biography of the Dumas
André Maurois; Gerard Hopkins.
Harper & Brothers, 1957
FREE! The Lady with the Camellias: (Camille)
Alexandre Fils Dumas; Albert Lynch.
Societe Des Beaux-Arts, 1905
A History of the French Novel: (To the Close of the Nineteenth Century)
George Saintsbury.
MacMillan, vol.2, 1919
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "Dumas the Younger"
Notes on Novelists: With Some Other Notes
Henry James.
Biblo and Tannen, 1969
Librarian’s tip: "Dumas the Younger, 1895" begins on p. 362
FREE! A History of French Literature
C. H. Conrad Wright.
Oxford University Press, 1912
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Alexandre Dumas fils begins on p. 781
An Outline of Contemporary Drama
Thomas H. Dickinson.
Houghton Mifflin, 1927
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Alexandre Dumas fils begins on p. 36
Literary Reviews and Essays: On American, English, and French Literature
Henry James; Albert Mordell.
Twayne Publishers, 1957
Librarian’s tip: "Dumas fils and Goethe" begins on p. 110
Cyclopedia of World Authors
Frank N. Magill; Dayton Kohler.
Harper & Row, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Alexandre Dumas, fils" begins on p. 321
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