Alexandre Dumas (p re) lived a life as romantic as that depicted in his famous novels. He was born on July 24,1802, at Villers-Cotterats, France, the son of Napoleon's famous mulatto general, Dumas, His early education was scanty, but his beautiful handwriting secured him a position in Paris in 1822 with the du'Orleans, where he read voraciously and began to write. His first play, Henri III et sa cour (1829), scored a resounding success for its author and for the romantic movement. Numerous dramatic successes followed (including the melodrama Kean , later adapted by Jean-Paul Satre), and so did numerous mistresses and adventures. He took part in the revolution of 1830 and caught cholera during the epidemic of 1832, fathered two illegitimate children by two different mistresses, and then married still another mistress. (The first of these two children, Alexandre Dumas, fils , became a famous author also,) His lavish spending and flamboyant habits led to the construction of his fabulous Ch teau de Monte-Christo, and in 1851 he fled to Belgium to escape creditors. He died on December 5, 1870, bankrupt but still cheerful, saying of death, "I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me." Dumas's overall literary output reached over 277 volumes, but his brilliant historical novels made him the most universally read of all French novelists. With collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, Dumas wrote such works as The Three Musketeer (1843-44); its sequels, Twenty Years After (1845) and the great mystery The Man in the Iron Mask (1845-50); and The Count of Monte Cristo (1844). L'action and l'amour were the two essential things in life and his fiction. He declared he "elevated history to the dignity of the novel" by means of love affairs, intrigues, imprisonments, hairbreadth escapes, and duels. His work ignored historical accuracy, Psychology, and analysis, but its thrilling adventure and exuberant inventiveness continue to delight readers, and Dumas remains one of the prodigies of nineteenth-century French literature.
A perennial favorite, this work continues to hold appeal for adventure lovers. Full of intrigue, swordplay, and revenge, it is the story of d'Artagnan, a young nobleman who travels to Paris in hopes of joining the Musketeers, a group of swashbuckling adventurers who serve King Louis XIII. His wit and fighting ability make d'Artagnan a welcome addition to their ranks, and together the four young men work to foil the King's evil rival, Cardinal Richelieu. Despite the period setting and constant violence, the story captures and sustains the listener's interest as the Musketeers vanquish the villains. Michael York reads superbly, his rich baritone voice giving each role convincing clarity. The audio format is particularly suited to the tale. The production quality is excellent. Recommended for general collections.-- Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
"I do not say there is no character as well-drawn in Shakespeare
[as D'Artagnan]. I do say there is none that I love so wholly."
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Gr 6 Up-With swelling musical background, the clash of swordplay, and the occasional thump of a head being cut off, the St. Charles Players bring back the feeling of radio theater in their rendition of the classic tale by Alexandre Dumas. The players' voices emit every nuance required to let listeners experience the swashbuckling deeds of the famous heroic threesome and the boy called D'Artagnan who wants to join their ranks. When the young man arrives in Paris with the wish to enlist with the King's Musketeers, he finds himself challenged to three duels in his first afternoon in the city by men who turn out to be Porthos, Aramis, and Athos-the Three Musketeers. Instead of fighting against them, the twists of fate have D'Artagnan battling for them against the evil Cardinal Richelieu's guards. After demonstrating his worth with a sword, D'Artagnan proves more of his mettle by journeying to England to foil a plot to embarrass France's Queen Anne, the former Anne of Austria. D'Artagnan saves his queen but loses the woman he loves, so he seeks vengeance and, in turn, instills himself firmly in the ranks of the Musketeers. The flavor of the original is evident even though this abridged version includes only highlights in its retelling.-Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.