Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was a French novelist and playwright who came from humble beginnings. As a child Dumas had little access to education, due to lack of financial resources. From a young age he worked as a tobacco salesman, messenger and notary's clerk. Despite his economic misfortune, Dumas was a positive soul with a charismatic personality.
He worked as a scribe for the Duke of Orleans, recognised as a talented calligrapher. It was during this time that he began to write plays and other forms of literature. From 1830 he earned enough money through writing to devote himself exclusively to literature.
He was a prolific author and wrote a plethora of tragedies, dramas, melodramas, adventure stories. He wrote over 650 books and can be attributed to around 1,200 works, including collaborations with other writers - making him one of the most popular authors in France and the world over.
Due to his successful writing career, Dumas made a great fortune but unfortunately was also a wasteful character. He found himself in debt so took refuge against debt collectors in his son’s home, Alexander Dumas - who was also a writer.
Alexandre Dumas died of a heart attack on December 5, 1870 at the age of 68, leaving behind an incredible literary legacy with works such as The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1845), Queen Margot (1845), The Black Tulip (1850) and The Hand of the Dead (1859).
Dumas will be remembered as the the man who helped stage a romantic revolution in theatre and literature, aided Garibaldi's political revolution in Italy, while still finding time to write around 650 or so books.
Here’s some of his most famous quotes:
- "The pride of those who cannot build, is to destroy."
- "Life is so uncertain, that happiness must be seized the moment it presents itself."
- "Life is fascinating: you just have to look at it through the right glasses."
- "When unbridled love enters the heart, it gnaws away at all other feelings; it lives at the expense of honour, faith and the word given.”
- "For all sorts of ills there are two remedies; time and silence"
- "If you give the impression of needing anything, you will get nothing; to make a fortune you must appear to be rich."
- "Opinions are like nails: the more you hit them, the more they penetrate."
- "All generalisations are dangerous, even this one."
- “All human wisdom is contained in these two words - wait and hope."
- "You don't have to know danger to be afraid; in fact, unknown dangers inspire the most fear."
- "We often pass by happiness without seeing it, without looking at it, or even if we have seen it, without recognising it."
- "The most curious thing in life is that of death."
- "Moral wounds have this peculiarity: they may be hidden, but they never close; they are always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart."
- "When you compare the sorrows of real life with the pleasures of the imagination, you never want to live again, but to dream forever."
- "When the devil gets mixed up in human affairs to ruin an existence or disrupt an Empire, it is very strange that some wretch is not immediately within his reach, to whom there is only a word to be whispered in his ear to get him back on track”.