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DUMAS Alexandre, fils (son)

DUMAS Alexandre, fils (son)

DUMAS Alexandre, fils (son), (27 July 1824 – 27 November 1895), a French celebrated author and playwright, was born in Paris, France. He was the illegitimate child of Marie-Catherine Labay, a dressmaker, and novelist Alexandre Dumas, père (père is French for father). In 1831 his father legally recognized him (he adopted him) and ensured the young Dumas received the best education possible at the Institution Goubaux and the College Bourbon. At that time, the law allowed the elder Dumas to take the child away from his mother. Her agony inspired Dumas fils to write about tragic female characters. In almost all of his writings, he emphasized the moral purpose of literature and in his 1858 play, Le fils naturel (The Illegitimate Son), he wrote about the belief that if a man fathers an illegitimate child, then he has an obligation to legitimize the child and marry the woman.

In 1844, Dumas fils moved to Saint-Germain-en-Laye to live with his father. There, he met Marie Duplessis, a young courtesan who would be the inspiration for his romantic novel, La dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias). Adapted into a play, it was titled in English (especially in the United States) as Camille and is the basis for Verdi's 1853 opera, La Traviata. Although he admitted that he had done the adaptation because he needed the money, he had a huge success with the play. With this work began the playwriting career of Dumas fils which not only eclipsed that of his father during his lifetime but also dominated the serious French stage for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. After this, he virtually abandoned the novel.

In 1874, he was admitted to the Académie française and in 1894 he was awarded the Légion d'Honneur.

Alexandre Dumas the son died at Marly-le-Roi, Yvelines, on 27 November 1895 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. 

Author: VERDI Giuseppe
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