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Dumas, fils, Alexandre

French, 1824 - 1895

Born in Paris 27 July 1824, Alexandre Dumas, fils, was the natural son of the novelist and dramatist Alexandre Dumas, père [1802-1870]. Alexandre fils, left school at the age of 17 to live with his father. For an income he began to write, starting in 1847 with a book of verse. His first and best known success was the 1848 novel La dame aux Camélias, based on the life of the Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis. The dramatization of the novel became the basis for Verdi's La traviata [1853], and the English version of the play, Camille. Alexandre fils is credited with bringing realism to the French stage. His subsequent novels and plays dealt with social problems, including those with which he himself had personal experience. Le fils naturel [1858] urged sympathetic treatment of the illegitimate child, while Un père prodigue reflected his life and that of his father. The impact of his plays stimulated revision of the laws on divorce and illegitimacy. Alexandre fils was elected to the Académie Française in 1874. He married twice, and died 27 November 1895 at Marly-le-Roi, near Paris.
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