It's about time this man of color gets his just due. Now if only Chevalier de St. Georges can get his just due for his contributions in French lore.
France Pays Solemn Tribute to Author of The Three Musketeers
30 Nov 2002, 16:36 UTC
France is paying a special tribute to one of the world's most widely read authors, Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Three Musketeers.
President Jacques Chirac will preside later Saturday in Paris over the transfer of Dumas' coffin to the "Pantheon," which houses the remains of many of France's greatest heroes. The celebrated author will lie right next to his friend, Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables. Born 200 years ago near Paris, Alexandre Dumas was the son of an army general who served under Napoleon and the grandson of a French colonist and a black slave from present-day Haiti.
Inspired by Sir Walter Scott, Dumas became one of the masters of the romantic swashbuckling novel in the 19th century. He left more than 300 theater plays, novels and travel journals, which have made him the most widely read French author in the world. The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, his most popular works, have been made into countless movie versions.
An ardent republican, Dumas spent many of his later years in Italy, where he became friends with Giuseppe Garibaldi, the father of that country's unification movement. He died in 1870. Mr. Chirac ordered the transfer of the remains last year, calling Dumas one of France's most talented and creative geniuses.
Nov 30th, 2002, 07:27 PM
Nov 30th, 2002, 07:33 PM
Josh - thanks alot. :)
Nov 30th, 2002, 07:40 PM
The coffin of French writer Alexandre Dumas is displayed at a chateau in Marly le Roi, west of Paris
France honours author Dumas
Saturday, November 30, 2002 Posted: 1903 GMT
PARIS, France (AP) -- The coffin of celebrated French novelist Alexandre Dumas has arrived at the Senate in Paris ahead of its transfer to the Pantheon, the domed monument where French luminaries are interred.
France's Republican Guard escorted the remains of the author of "The Three Musketeers and "The Man in the Iron Mask" from Dumas' elegant Monte Cristo chateau, outside Paris, to the Senate on Saturday.
From there a procession was to carry his body, flanked by Musketeers and actors in period dress reading his works aloud, through the streets of the capital's Left Bank to the Pantheon.
President Jacques Chirac will give a speech on the mausoleum's steps, and the Culture Ministry has asked spectators to carry copies of Dumas' books.
"He is a writer admired across the world, the French writer most read abroad, loved and adored by millions of people," historian Alain Decaux told reporters at the Senate.
Villagers in Dumas' hometown of Villers-Cotterets had initially opposed the transfer, saying Dumas laid out in his memoirs that he wanted to be buried there.
But the village eventually bowed to the government's decision. Workers on Tuesday put Dumas' body in a new coffin and brought him to the town hall, where a few hundred residents paid tribute.
Other notables buried in the Pantheon include Victor Hugo, Voltaire and the Curies.
Earlier this year, Chirac ordered Dumas' transfer there, calling him one of France's "most turbulent children, one of its most talented -- and one of its most creative geniuses."
Born in 1802, Dumas led a life almost as adventurous as his novels.
He became a captain of the national guard in the 1830s, had several children out of wedlock and supported Italy's struggle for independence in the early 1850s.
The grandson of a black Haitian slave, Dumas entered French high society and became a popular novelist and dramatist.
Dumas died in 1870 in Normandy, and he was buried there because the Franco-Prussian War prevented his burial in Villers-Cotterets. His son moved his body there two years later once the war had ended.
Nov 30th, 2002, 10:29 PM
Nov 30th, 2002, 11:36 PM
Swashbuckler Dumas Enters Pantheon of French Icons
— By Brian Love
PARIS (Reuters) - France buried Alexandre Dumas, the fast-writing, fast-living author of "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo," in the crypt of the Pantheon in Paris Saturday, reuniting him with his friend Victor Hugo.
France's best-known writer of romantic adventures, equally renowned for his own torrid love life, was reburied in the state's official tomb of honor alongside his fellow novelist Hugo, Rousseau, Voltaire and dozens of other French luminaries.
Dumas, who died in 1870, was transferred under a decree issued by President Jacques Chirac from a cemetery in the town of Villers-Cotterets north of Paris, where he was born in 1802.
"Today, Alexandre Dumas is no longer alone," Chirac said at the reburial ceremony. "With him, our popular memory and our collective imagination enter the Pantheon."
The coffin carrying Dumas's remains was draped in a deep blue flag bearing the most famous line from his fictional band of fiery musketeers -- "All for one and one for all."
Dumas, grandson of a female Haitian slave, enchanted readers worldwide with more than 250 plays and novels of romance and adventure, churned out with an army of assistants. But his own life was perhaps wilder than those of his most fabled heroes.
He is said to have drawn much of his inspiration from the Caribbean escapades of his father, a mulatto general in Napoleon's army who died when Dumas was four years old.
His best loved works -- the adventures of the swashbuckling musketeers and the epic tale of love-smitten vengeance in "The Count of Monte Cristo" -- were rushed out in just two years in the mid-1850s.
In March, Chirac decreed that Dumas's remains should be transferred to the Pantheon, the grave of more than 60 luminaries of arts, politics and science.
But his plan met resistance last year from intellectuals, feminists and historians.
They accused Dumas, renowned for extramarital affairs and rakish behavior, of sexism and questioned whether a writer who employed 60 helpers to produce commercially successful adventure stories deserved to lie beside the giants of French literature.
He earned a fortune from his work but spent it just as fast on friends and mistresses. He once fled to Brussels to escape creditors and only returned when a friend paid his bills.
One quotation attributed to Dumas epitomized his life:
"The chains of wedlock are so heavy it takes two people to carry them, sometimes three."
Dumas is best known abroad for "The Three Musketeers," which tells the adventures of four heroes living during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.
He was widely credited with reviving the French romantic novel through serialization and had a huge story-telling talent that blended fiction and fact until they were indistinguishable.
Self-educated, he worked in his hometown as a clerk and left for Paris at a young age. He briefly stopped writing to join the revolution of July 1830, traveled to Russia, and then to Italy at the invitation of the insurgent Giuseppe Garibaldi.
One of the last stops on his three-day, posthumous journey to Paris was the Chateau de Monte Cristo, the castle he had built in honor of the hero of his novel.
As he made his way to the Pantheon, French Senate President Christian Poncelet quoted a comment Victor Hugo once made after Dumas paid him a visit during a period of exile on the island of Guernsey: "I will return the visit at his grave."