Welcome to the sign up for the Alexandre Dumas tour, part two of the Paris in the Springtime circuit
The tour will begin on April 19, overlapping with the last weeks of the Zola tour, and will last for about three weeks, depending on the number of participants. If you have signed up for Zola and also wanted to sign up for Dumas, note that we will be sending tour day assignment emails in the next few days; you may want to wait until you know when you are assigned for that tour.
You can sign-up for the tour until March 12, and we would love to have you part of it!
When you indicate that you want to participate, please keep in mind that we will assign you a date during the tour on which you should post. If you are unable to meet your assigned date, let us know and we can reassign you: otherwise, we’ll take you off the schedule. Please let us know when you sign up your preferred and/or unavailable days during the month.
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The Life of Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas was born Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, in the village of Villers-Cotterêts in France on July 24, 1802, to a former general in Napoleon’s army and an innkeeper’s daughter. Dumas started his career writing magazine articles and plays for theater. One of his plays, Antony, is considered the first non-historical Romantic drama. He’d eventually become the one of the most read French authors in the world, writing mostly swashbuckling novels, but also non-fiction (most impressive of these being the Great Dictionary of Cuisine, part encyclopedia and part cookbook) and travel memoirs. He died December 5, 1870.
Works by Alexandre Dumas
List taken from Wikipedia; this is not a comprehensive list as a lot of Dumas works have not been translated in English or are currently out of print. If you want and are able to read others works of his, feel free to as we’d welcome the diversity
Charles VII at the Homes of His Great Vassals (Charles VII chez ses grands vassaux, 1831) - drama, adapted for the opera The Saracen by Russian composer César Cui
The Fencing Master (Le Maître d’armes, 1840): A fictional account of the Decembrists revolt in Russia. It was banned by Czar Nikolay the First.
- There is much to admire in The Fencing Master. In lieu of snappy patter, Pérez-Reverte provides artful, intricate conversation. Rather than send his characters on a relentless search, he provides them with an inexorable unfolding of revelation, increasingly ghastly. And instead of the clever puzzle that lies at the heart of many a lesser crime novel, he substitutes a subtle meditation on the deeper mysteries of fate and choice. (Walter Satterthwait of The New York Times)
Georges (1843): The protagonist of this novel is a man of mixed race, a rare allusion to Dumas’ own African ancestry.
- “This novel of of particular interest for two reasons: first, because Dumas reused many of the ideas and plot devices that he deployed in Georges later in Le Comte de Monte Cristo, and secondly because race and racism are at the center of this novel, and this a topic on which Dumas, despite his part-African ancestry, rarely wrote.” (Arthur D. Rypinski)
- “Wow, what a great, exciting book! Love, betrayal, duels, revenge! Sea battles and hurricanes and slave riots! I read the whole book in one sitting.” (Francophile via Amazon.com)
- “Georges is one of greatest novels of the greatest storyteller of all time. This is a marvelous romantic adventure with a noble and virtuous hero avenging social injustice similar to The Count of Monte Cristo. It is, put quite plainly, a joy to read.” (David X)
The Nutcracker (Histoire d’un casse-noisette, 1844): a revision of Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, later adapted by Tchaikovsky as a ballet
- This version of “Nutcracker and the Mouse King” is the original work written by E.T.A. Hoffman. The beginning comes with a brief introduction examining both the story and the ballet. Mr. Dumas, who wrote the alternate version, is also briefly described in the introduction. The differences among the stories are quickly apparent, though, also described for you in the introduction. As a much loved holiday classic, I was astounded at the differences between the original work and the ballet. Both are structured to be absolutely beautiful works that speak for themselves and each contains meanings beyond words. If you are looking for a lovely holiday book for yourself, a friend, or young one, this is the perfect gift. (C.G. on Amazon)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, 1845–1846)
- “It is about humanity. Humanity at its best and worst. The frailty and strength of the human mind, body, and soul. It is about life and death, love and loss, jealousy and revenge, hope and forgiveness, redemption and despair. It is about greed, anger, and hatred. It is about justice and injustice.” (Becky of Becky’s Book Reviews)
- “This book has everything: Sailors! Napoleonic sympathizers! Corsicans! Assassins! A purloined letter! An island fortress prison! Hidden treasure! Hashish dreams! A suspicion of vampires! Family secrets! Italian masquerades! Bandits! Illicit love affairs! A long-lost son! Traitors! An oriental princess sold into slavery! Shame and dishonour! Optical telegraphs! Cross-dressing lesbians! Opera! A challenge to a duel! Gunplay! Poison! Courtroom drama! Really a lot of poison! Vengeance! Justice! And love!” (Isabella at Magnificent Octopus)
- “The book, though not abounding in rich insights into human character ala George Eliot or Anthony Trollope, is extremely well-written.” (hopeinbrazil of Worthwhile Books)
The Regent’s Daughter (Une Fille du régent, 1845): A sequel to “The Conspirators”
- “This is an awesome book! Hard to get hold of, but definitely worth it.” (Elizabeth on Goodreads.com)
The Two Dianas (Les Deux Diane, 1846): The story of Diana de Poitiers (mistress of Henry II) and her daughter, Diana de Castro.
- “This was a fabulous read packed with star-crossed lovers, mystery, treachery, intrigue and more [...]” (misfitandmom at At Home With a Good Book and the Cat)
- “It’s Dumas at his best, evil characters, noble soldiers, and people swept around by events they cannot control.” (Topolino “Lisa” via Amazon.com)
- “Dumas as an unique way to write tremendous dialogues. [...] It is curious how this book is not so well known.” (Laura at Goodreads.com)
The Black Tulip (La Tulipe noire, 1850): A historical novel set in Holland involving a competition to grow the first black tulip.
- “…if you’re looking for a wonderful little story, almost perfectly told, you’re in the right place.” (Amazon reviewer, DonAthos)
- “The Black Tulip might sound a little soppy, but the plot is very good and moves along with great momentum.” (kimbofo on Reading Matters)
- “It took me a little while to get into as the first 50 pages or so are mostly background and description, but once into the story I found that I couldn’t put it down.” (Melissa on Goodreads.com)
The Wolf-Leader (Le Meneur de loups, 1857): A fantasy novel based on folklore Dumas heard as a child. A wolfman offers a shoemaker revenge upon his enemies.
- “The conclusion is just as unexpected as much of the rest of the book…” (Arthur D Rypinski)
- “[...] the beginning of this book is one of the best I’ve ever read. Reminiscent of the Divine Comedy. This is a pretty rare offering from Alexandre Dumas [...], being the only “supernatural” piece I’m aware of that he wrote.” (Kenny Oswald on Goodreads.com)
The Companions of Jehu (Les Compagnons de Jehu, 1857): In Robin Hood-esque fashion the Companions of Jehu rob Napoleon’s coffers in an attempt to resurrect the monarchy.
- “This is a great tale and one of Dumas’s best works. You will enjoy every word of it!” (Amazon reviewer, R Yarnell)
- “A very good lesser known work of Dumas. There are main characters on both sides of the conflict and no discernible villain, which makes for an interesting read.” (Elijah Kinch Spector on Goodreads.com)
Robin Hood (Robin Hood le proscrit, 1863): A condensed version of Robin Hood and Little John by Pierce Egan.
- “I was in love with this book as a child. Although it’s probably the version that strays the most from the ballads and other such stuff, it’s definitely the one I like the most.” (Laurie on Goodreads.com)
The Whites and the Blues (Les Blancs et les Bleus, 1867)
- “[Dumas] says several times himself that he is not really writing a novel, and not really writing a history, he’s kind of filling in the blanks of history with historical details he picked up from people who lived at the time he is writing about.” (Cynthia on Goodreads.com)
The Last Cavalier (Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine, 1869): This nearly completed novel was his last major work and was lost until its rediscovery by Claude Schopp in 1988 and subsequent release in 2005.
- “Read a sentence and you can’t help but read the next one. How could I have stayed away so long from Dumas, he who sweeps me away with political intrigue and wild exploits? Plus, he’s very funny.” (Isabella at Magnificent Octopus)
- “I loved reading about Diana the super-avenger (and kick-ass woman!), Chateaubriand exploring North America and giving a shout-out to Lake Erie, Cadoudal the honorable royalist, and on and on.” (Alex on Somewhere Quiet)
- “Not what I would consider Dumas’ crowning achievement but nonetheless an entertaining novel in the way only Alexandre Dumas could portray a part of French history.” (Jason on Goodreads.com)
The Women’s War: follows Baron des Canolles, a naive Gascon soldier who falls in love with two women.
- “As with many Dumas novels, this one was inspired by historical events and, as usual, is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction. It is packed with political intrigue and has a much-appreciated message about the futility of war. This book is a real gem.” (ichabodisitchy on Ichabod Is Itchy)
- “I didn’t realize this book existed and what a delightful adventure in reading it was! I am very impressed with the dialogue, especially. It is full of witty repartee and I actually found myself chuckling at the tongue-in-cheek humor as well as the clever sarcasm it contains.” (Dawn K. Sandquist on Amazon.com)
- “The characters are almost all uniformly interesting, the action moves along briskly and excitingly, and the plot is suitably labyrinthine, delivering genuine surprises.” (Elijah on “We Are About To Have the Honor of Charging You”)
The D’Artagnan Romances:
The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires, 1844)
- “Friendship. Love. Hate. Revenge. Secrets. Danger. Adventure. Adventure. Adventure. Adventure with a dash of romance. Swordfights. Duels. Honor. Jealousy. Agendas. Ambition. Greed. Lust. And more than a little humor and sarcasm.” (Becky of Becky’s Book Reviews.)
- “What makes this book a classic in my mind, however, are the dark moments. D’Artagnan is the main character, but in reality one of the least interesting. The real poignancy in the book comes from the portrayal of wise, yet haunted, Athos and the ruthlessly ambitious Milady. Whispered at in the movie but fleshed out in the book, these beautiful characters will stay with you long after you finish reading the final page.” (Meg89 of Literary Menagerie)
- “I highly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read. The characters are flawed but lovable, and the plot moves along quickly enough to prevent even the slowest reader from getting bored.” (Michelle of Michelle’s Masterful Musings)
Twenty Years After (Vingt ans après, 1845)
- “Reading about [the three Musketeers'] new set of adventures and their struggles as they face the spectres of their past and the threat of the future was highly, highly enjoyable.” — Alex of Somewhere Quiet
- “Dumas is brilliant (as always) and his dialogue is among the best (as always). An awesome sequel to the Three Musketeers [...]” (Misfit on Librarything.com)
- “More intrigue fights, humour, plot twists and daring escapes and delightful characters as Paris becomes a battleground between two opposing political factions.” (Rebecca on Goodreads.com)
The Vicomte de Bragelonne, sometimes called Ten Years Later, (Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, ou Dix ans plus tard, 1847): When published in English, it was usually split into three parts: The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask, of which the last part is the best known. (A third sequel, The Son of Porthos, 1883 (a.k.a. The Death of Aramis) was published under the name of Alexandre Dumas; however, the real author was Paul Mahalin.)
- “This is the third and final book in The Three Musketeers trilogy, and in my opinion the best. ” (Karina on Goodreads.com)
- “Every bit as good as the previous two installments of the Musketeers cycle it could not fail to enthrall all who have enjoyed The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After.<” (pageboy on LibraryThing.com)
- “A masterful and most worthy sequel. The Musketeers saga reaches its exciting conclusion in The Vicomte De Bragelonne. The longest, but the most entertaining adventure of them all.” (HAMLET on Amazon.com)
The Valois romances
La Reine Margot (1845)
- “[...] the action is intense, and there is plenty of suspense in the plot to keep turning pages and reading long past a reasonable bed time.” (Page Turner of Lines From the Page)
- “In this inventive and compelling novel, Dumas brings an extraordinary period of history vividly to life with much excitement and romance. The lively prose and wonderfully constructed plot tell of court intrigues and forbidden love, of beautiful queens, duchesses, and noblemen, suspense, conspiracies, betrayals, assassinations, susperstitions, poisonings, and sumptuous feasts.” (Arleigh of historical-fiction.com)
- “Filled with the intrigue surrounding the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 Dumas has Catherine de Medici, the Duke d’Anjou, Charles IX of France and (of course) Marguerite de Valois in full technicolor to keep me reading. Good, good stuff.” (Michelle of Scribbit)
La Dame de Monsoreau (1846) (a.k.a. Chicot the Jester)
- “In some ways this is my favorite Dumas and thus I think that it ranks with the Count of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers. The action takes place during Henry III’s reign and follows two intertwined plot lines: 1)the adventures of Chicot, the king’s “jester,” and 2) the love intriques of Bussy d’Amboise and the tragic Dame de Monsoreau. The political rivalries of the various aristocratic court factions is entertaining and interesting and, it is my impression, fairly accurate history.” (A Customer at Amazon)
- “The characters in this book were really fun. I laughed quite a bit, and cried even more.” (Deusprimus on Goodreads.com)
- “Great book if you are a Dumas fan, and especially if you’ve read La Reine Margot.” (qh on Amazon.com)
The Forty-Five Guardsmen(Les Quarante-cinq, 1847)
- “[...]the Forty-Five does not lack young, handsome and rich gentlemen and beautiful and graceful ladies, not to mention the private lifestyle (humorous I found) of the King Henri III and his brother the duc d’Alençon. It was overall just captivating, I felt like I was reliving this time period.” (TK “ligue” at Amazon.com)
The Marie Antoinette romances:
Joseph Balsamo (Mémoires d’un médecin: Joseph Balsamo, 1846–1848) (a.k.a. Memoirs of a Physician, Cagliostro, Madame Dubarry, The Countess Dubarry, or The Elixir of Life): Court intrigues in the time of Marie Antoinette.
- “Balsamo is one of his most interesting characters, a mystic and freemason who is sort of evil and horrible but sort of wonderful and noble — a classic complex and multilayered Dumas hero.” (Cynthia on Goodreads.com)
- “This is a must for Dumas fans. [...] Love, war, fantasy and politics are delicately woven into the fabric of the story. Highly recommended.” (Bob Doust on Amazon.com)
- “Suffice it to say that Dumas’ tale of the lives and loves of the Court of Louis XV and the growing tension amongst the lower classes of Paris and beyond was quite entertaining, especially with the mysterious appearances and disappearances of Balsamo in and out of the story.” (Misfit on Amazon.com)
The Queen’s Necklace (Le Collier de la Reine, 1849–1850): The tragedy surrounding Marie Antoinette’s necklace.
- “Complex, intricate and ornate, a novel that makes you sympathetic toward royalty even as you’re applauding the commoners for their brave step toward alliance. A narrative tour-de-force with a real polyphonic style and a sweeping gaze over France of the 18th century.” (ruzmari on goodreads.com)
Ange Pitou (1853) (a.k.a. Storming the Bastille or Six Years Later): Story of the fall of Louis XVI and his royal family.
- “Voltaire’s Candide meets Wilkie Collins in Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ – bizarre!” (AdonisGuilfoyle on LibraryThing.com)
- “Some readers may find a slow spot here and there at the beginning and end of the book, but other than that I found it quite unputdownable.” (Misfit on LibraryThing.com)
The Countess de Charny (La Comtesse de Charny, 1853–1855) (a.k.a. Andrée de Taverney, or The Mesmerist’s Victim): A story set in the period during the execution of Louis the XVI.
- “Much of the book details known history as Louis attempts to take his family out of the country to safety, their ultimate capture and return to Paris, as Dumas weaves his fictional characters and their lives amongst those of Louis, his court and the battling factions of the National Assembly.” (Misfit on Amazon.com)
Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge (1845) (a.k.a. The Knight of the Red House, or The Knight of Maison-Rouge): Story of an attempt to rescue Marie Antoinette from prison.
- “A brilliantly written tale of romance and intrigue about Marie Antoinette and her supporter, the Knight of Maison-Rouge, during the French Revolution.” (rscotts on LibraryThing.com)
Allison Anderson on Goodreads.com)
- “Having read most of what Dumas has written, I can only say that this is one of his best novels. It is adventurous, fast paced and written in a superb manner.” (Juan C Villamil on Amazon.com)
We were unable to find English translations and/or summaries and reviews for the following books. You are more than welcome to read them if you can find them!
Henri III et Sa Cour (1829)
La Tour de Nesle – 1832
Kean – 1836
Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine (Great Dictionary of Cuisine) was published posthumously in 1873. An abridged version (the Petit Dictionnaire de cuisine, or Small Dictionary of Cuisine) was published in 1882.
He was also a well-known travel writer, writing such books as:
- Impressions de voyage: En Suisse (Travel Impressions: In Switzerland, 1834)
- Une Année à Florence (A Year in Florence, 1841)
- De Paris à Cadix (From Paris to Cadiz, 1847)
- Le Caucase (The Caucasus, 1859)
- Impressions de voyage: En Russie (Travel Impressions: In Russia, 1860).
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