All for One-One for All - Will the Real Musketeer "Alexandre Dumas" Please Stand Up
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Alexandre Dumas père is one of the most prolific and popular French writers of all times; he wrote over 1,200 volumes comprising of 250 plays, novels and travelogues, and was among the first writers in France to use the roman feuilleton (serialised novel). Without ever attaining the literary stature of the giants of his day like Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert, and Zola, he was, nevertheless, the most flamboyant and the most widely read of them all. All his writings brought him great success and popularity, and his exuberant imagination was equalled by no one except perhaps by Victor Hugo. He is especially known for his novels Le Comte de Monte Cristo, Les Trois Mousquetaires and La Reine Margot which have all been translated in various languages, made into films, adapted and serialised for television. Although his novels are placed in Hachette’s “bibliothèque verte” for young adolescents, these are only the sanitised or expurgated versions of his novels. With their sudden plot developments and high entertainment value, they represent the perfect examples of the typical action-packed swashbuckling novels, filled with swordfights, beautiful women, heroic men, cloak and dagger episodes and narrow escapes. Yet, there is another dimension to his writings: no other French writer of the 19th century has depicted scenes of political intrigues, vengeance, perversion, graphic eroticism, poisonings, torture, executions and beheadings quite like him. Due to his prolific output, questions concerning his collaboration with other writers such as Auguste Maquet have often been raised, and critics have judged his work harshly. Recently, however, he seems to have gained favour with the establishment and French critics alike, especially since the French President Jacques Chirac had his body exhumed and transported to the Panthéon in Paris, in 2002, and where he is now enshrined alongside such illustrious authors like Victor Hugo and Émile Zola.