On the first Monday of the month of April 1625, the town of Meung looked as if it were in as complete a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.
Alexandre Dumas , pere, was born near Paris on July 24, 1802. His grandfather was a marquis, and his grandmother was a black slave. Dumas’ father was soldier in Napoleon’s army. Dumas himself was a prolific writer; he wrote hundreds of plays and novels. However, his critics were numerous also. They said he plagiarized mnay of his works, and he made no secret of the fact that he employed several anonymous collaborators who wrote much of what Dumas published in his own name. Often Dumas provided the plot summaries, and his stable of writers fleshed out the stories and plays. His son, Alexandre Dumas, fils, became a famous playwright who wrote the story upon which the opera La Traviata is based.
The Three Musketeers is Dumas’ best-known novel. It is the first in a trilogy which consists of three novels:
Les Trois Mousquetaires,
Vingt Ans Après (Twenty Years After), and
Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix Ans Plus Tard (Ten Years Later).
This third novel is often split up into three pieces when published in English:
The Vicomte of Bragelonne,
Louise de la Vallire, and
The Man in the Iron Mask.
Dumas also wrote The Count of Monte Cristo.
If you’ ve never read these, you should. If you’ve only seen movie versions, you should read the book(s). You might get the impression from the movies that have been made that the musketeers were quite amoral or even immoral; however, in the books they are only chilvalrous and rather foolish knights who, in the romantic tradition, have lady loves, mostly worshipped from afar or at least chastely. There are all sorts of intrigues and plots, but the musketeers are loyal to their king and to one another. And the books are great fun.