Tag: alexandre dumas

How Race Played a Role in the Life and Work of Alexandre Dumas

Infatuated, half through conceit, half through love of my art, I achieve the impossible working as no one else ever works…” 

…once said Alexandre Dumas. Dumas was known for writing beloved adventure novels such as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. He was also known for his driven, kind, and original personality. What most people don’t know, however, was that Alexandre Dumas was Black.



Born in France in 1802, Dumas was the son of General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, one of the highest-ranking men of African descent to lead a European army. Dumas’s paternal grandparents were a French nobleman and an enslaved Haitian woman. He was a “quadroon,” or someone who was a 1/4th black.



Because his family was of noble rank, Alexandre was able to begin working under the Duke of Orleans at the age of fourteen. While employed by the Duke, he began writing for various magazines and writing plays. Like his father before him, he took on his grandmother’s name Dumas. His first two plays, Henry III and his Courts and Christine, were both wildly successful, allowing him to pursue writing in his free time. He soon switched to writing novels, rewriting his play Le Capitaine Paul to be a serialized novel. His writing became known everywhere, being translated into English and several other languages. This success led to a lavish lifestyle of travel and excess. Unfortunately, Alexandre Dumas passed away from a heart attack in December 1870. He left behind a body of work and a legacy full of adventure.


Despite his noble background and success as a writer, Dumas had faced discrimination and racism due to ancestry and race. He wrote the novel, Georges, in 1843, which was about the son of a biracial plantation owner who faces discrimination due to his ancestry, despite appearing to be white. When he finds out his brother is sailing a slave ship, he leads a slave revolt. The revolt fails, and he is condemned to death but is saved at the last minute by his friends. Other than this, Dumas rarely wrote about race but did not suffer racism lightly. When someone tried to mock his ancestry, Dumas replied with trademark wit:

“My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a negro, and my great-grandfather was a monkey. You see, sir, my family starts where yours ends.”


Alexandre Dumas was known for his thrilling stories, his equally thrilling life, and his incredible body of work. Now he can be remembered as a part of Black History too.

Featured image courtesy of blackhistory.com


Feast Your Eyes on These Edible Books!

Feast your eyes on these books!

Literally. With eight books on display, students at Western Iowa Tech Community College had a chance to guess the title of the book and vote on their favorite before taking a bite out of literature. The school’s first-ever Edible Book Competition was organized thanks to eight students and faculty members so that finals weeks could run a lot smoother.

“It gives us an opportunity to share our love of reading and how books are important to us, and get to know each other a little better and share food, of course,” Sue Owens, the librarian who planned this event, told SiouxLand Proud.

Of course they’re not real books. Basically, students had an opportunity to make a tasty desert and make others guess what book that desert represented.


Library manager Sharon Dykshoorn
Image Via Sioux City Journal

Sioux City Journal spoke to library manager Sharon Dykshoorn, who said, “Anyone who wanted to vote for their favorite among the edible books could do so” and that , “the winner of the popular vote will be determined at noon and a small prize will be given to the top vote-getter.”

Dykshoorn had her own entry, which by all accounts was the hardest to guess.


A bear surrounded by ring-shaped cookies

Image Via Sioux City Journal

See if you can guess what books these six deserts represent:

  1. A fish bowl inside of which are Swedish fish candies.

2. A plate filled with grapes

3. A Mars candy bar called “The Three Musketeers”

4. A teddy bear surrounded by wedding-ring-shaped cookies

5. A chocolate cake

6. A book-shaped cake covered in fondant and buttercream

Dykshoorn gave a hint for her entry: “[I]t represents an ancient book…[p]lus it was turned into a movie starring Robin Williams.” After guessing the titles for each book, students had the chance to dig in on the displays.

Before I sign off, the answers are below.





  1. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

2. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

3. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

4. The Ring Bear by N.L. Sharp

5. The Hobbit by J R. R. Tolkien

Fun fact, this entry won Chuck Polk the popular vote as best entry.

6. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg


Featured Image Via JMEG


Plan Your European Excursion With This Interactive ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ Map!

Anybody who’s read The Count of Monte Cristo can confirm that it’s the best. When you read it, it’ll quickly become a favorite. It’ll also leave you with the burning desire to visit France. Alexandre Dumas does such an excellent job of not only plotting Edmond Dantes’ revenge, but glamorously depicting Paris and Rome, as well as the coziness of Dantes’ home of Marseille.


The book is a tome, so you feel totally immersed in Dumas’ Europe by the end of the 1,000+ pages. But, once you’ve finished your journey with the Count, you may want to visit the real-world destinations. While I haven’t booked your Airbnbs yet, I have pointed you in the right direction. So take a journey through Europe along the same path the Count of Monte Cristo took! If you stumble upon any hidden treasure on remote islands, by the way, please remember who gave you the coordinates.



Feature Image Via Unsplash