Le site web Alexandre Dumas père The Alexandre Dumas père Web Site
The Alexandre Dumas père Web Site
Dumas|Oeuvres|Gens|Galerie|Liens Dumas|Works|People|Gallery|Links

Full text search of notes


Reviews (ADR)

from Reviews (ADR)
concerning Mes Mémoires

     Alexandre Dumas began writing his memoirs in 1847, when he was at the height of his fame and wealth. He continued to work on the memoirs off-and-on for the rest of his life, eventually accumulating an immense manuscript. Like Dumas' books on travel, he incorporated chunks of history, biography, book and play reviews, political commentary, correspondence with friends and enemies, and the occasional short story (Le Curé de Boulogne) into his narrative. The result, while interesting, would make a publisher quail. Notwithstanding the length of the narrative, it covers only the first 32 years of Dumas' life, up through his abrupt departure for Switzerland in 1834.
     Dumas recounts his birth and parentage, his earliest memories of his father, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas (who died in 1807, when Dumas was 5), his upbringing and education in Villers-Cotterêts, his first love, Adele, his departure for Paris, his employment (on the recommendation of General Foy) in the offices of Louis-Philippe, Duc d’Orléans and later King. He also describes his authorship of his earliest plays, and the publication of his first prose work Nouvelles Contemporaines. He writes at length about the creation of the plays that made his reputation: Henri III et sa Cour, Christine, and Antony, and some early flops, Napoléon Bonaparte, Caligula, Charles VII Chez ses Grands Vassaux, and Le Fils de l’Émigré, and some middling works, such as Richard Darlington and Catherine Howard.
     Dumas participated in two duels, in which the total casualties were a scratch inflicted by Dumas' rapier, against an opponent who had never before picked up a sword. The victim had laughed at Dumas' clothes. In the second duel, which was conducted after a rancorous debate in the press over the authorship of La Tour de Nesle, the duelists proved unwilling or unable to shoot each other at a distance of thirty paces.
     On the political front, Dumas provides a vivid description of the July Revolution, and particularly his feat of seizing the powder magazine at Soissons on behalf of the revolutionary Government, as well his half-hearted participation in the aborted republican uprising in 1834 that led an aide-de-camp of his former employer, King Louis-Philippe, to call on Dumas and advise Dumas that, as his arrest was being considered, a trip abroad would be beneficial to his health.
     There are also some notable omissions. Dumas generally omits his complicated love life and any mention of his children. He makes an exception for his adulterous affair with a lady that inspired Antony, and a smallish exception for the actress Marie Dorval, who had died before Dumas began writing.
     There are two heavily abridged recent translations of Dumas' memoirs available in English. The Road to Monte Cristo, published in 1957, translated by the American playwright Jules Eckert Goodman, and a translation by A. Craig Bell published by Chilton in about 1960.

Contactez-nous/Contact Us
[Traduire en français] [Translate into English]