At the end of the decade Dumas went into collaboration with Auguste Maquet, a professor of history and the first of several researchers whose role was to unearth the events and landscapes which Dumas would turn into fictional gold. The first fruit was The Three Musketeers. Many of D'Artagnan's exploits were based on his father's experiences, and with The Three Musketeers he regained the great popularity that had marked the appearance of Henri III, the first romantic historical drama, and of Antony, the first romantic modern drama.
Rehearsing it for the stage he noticed that the fireman on duty had diaappeared.
He had him called back, found out why he had stopped listening and
immediately set to work changing the scene. After the success of
the Three Musketeers Dumas recalled an island he had glimpsed
in the Mediterranean a few years before. It was called Monte Cristo.
The two collaborators set to work again, and in 1843 The Count
of Monte Cristo started to be serialised in Le
Journal des Débats. Dumas was now no longer re-inventing
history, he created it. Dumas' activity was industrial. He described
himself as a blacksmith "who threw himself into literature as his
father had thrown himself upon the enemy".
Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips
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