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Time of transition

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Caricature by Mayer - reminiscent of Gulliver in Liliput   Caricature by Arcourt
Caricature by Meyer - reminiscent of Gulliver in Liliput
British Library W5/5627, p.257
Copyright © The British Library Board
  Caricature by Arcourt
British Library W5/5627, p.297
Copyright © The British Library Board
     
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Dumas portrait showing the signs of age, wear and tear    

Dumas portrait showing the signs of age, wear and tear
British Library W5/5627, p.331
Copyright © The British Library Board

 


Dumas' self-imposed exile from Paris was a wonderful holiday, but on returning he heard that one of his plays had been hissed and he decided to change course. He now set himself to reading works of history. At the same time he was in the centre of the fashionable crowd, throwing a costume ball in 1833 that was the social event of the year. Afterwards he set out on a new round of travels to the South, even getting himself arrested as a revolutionary in Tuscany and thrown out. Back in Paris he put on a new drama, Caligula, featuring a trained horse which he hoped would be a star, but the play failed and the horse was hissed.

He was suddenly out of fashion and, paradoxically, he began pursuing honours and decorations, successfully lobbying to be made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour on 2 July 1837 with the help of his friend Victor Hugo. In August his mother died, and Dumas decided on a great project - a statue in Haiti in honour of his father. He wrote a letter to the government of Haiti, proposing a subscription for the purpose. There was no response.

Dumas was actually deep in debt, as he would always be. He got married, partly to get out of some of his debts, then started writing comedies and doctoring scripts to pay for the others, but his gourmandising, his notable generosity and his open-handed hospitality meant that he spent money faster than he could earn it.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

A new career - the novelist Next - 'A new career - the novelist'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
The Father - General Dumas
The father - General Dumas
Early life
Early life
Arrival in Paris
Arrival in Paris
Dumas the dramatist - "glass beads and corals
Dumas the dramatist - "glass beads and corals"
Time of transition
A new career - the novelist
A new career - the novelist
Mulatto!
Mulatto!
The forgotten man
The forgotten man
The giant falls
The giant falls
George Polgreen bridgetower
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
John Archer
 
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