Cornelia Funke

Best known for writing the the Inkheart trilogy, The bestselling German-American children’s author, Cornelia Funke was born, 10 December 1958 in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy, published in the United Kingdom between 2004–2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into the fantasy and adventure genres. She lives in Beverly Hills, California. Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.

Inkheart concerns an avid 12 year old book reader named Meggie who sees a stranger staring at her outside her window and tells her father, Mortimer who works as a bookbinder. Mortimer invites the stranger in, who introduces himself as Dustfinger and warns Mo that a man named Capricorn is looking for him. Mortimer and Meggie visit Meggie’s Aunt Elinor and are joined en route by Dustfinger and Gwin, Dustfinger’s pet horned marten.

Unfortunately Mortimer is captured at Aunt Elinor’s house and Dustfinger also disappears. So Meggie decides to look for Mortimer. Dustfinger returns, and the three venture to Capricorn’s village to look for Mortimer. Meggie suspects that Mortimer’s disappearance has something to do with a book entitled Inkheart which Mortimer had been reading when he discovered that he had a rather unusual ability which is connected to the appearance of Capricorn, Basta, Flatnose and Dustfinger, and the disappearance of his wife Teresa.

Luckily Dustfinger helps them escape and Dustfinger, Farid, Meggie, and Mortimer visit Fenoglio the author of Inkheart for help. Meanwhile Elinor finds her home has been ransacked by Capricorn and his henchmen. Then , Basta and Flatnose find Fenoglio and Meggie. Fenoglio reveals more about Capricorn’s past. Who thinks his father was a hamster knight and his mother smelt of elderberries was a princess. In fact his father was a blacksmith and his mother, Mortola or the Magpie, was just the head maidservant. Meggie discovers that she has also inherited her father’s unusual ability. Dustfinger meets one of his old maidservant friends, Resa, and Darius, a man with the same talent as Mo and Meggie. Resa and Dustfinger plan to recover Inkheart from Capricorn before he can make use of their talent for his own evil purposes while Fenoglio starts writing a counter curse to banish an evil villain called the Shadow, however this does not go well….

The Adventurs of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

One of the Great American Novels, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published 10th December 1884. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective) and is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It features colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River and satirizes the Southern antebellum society. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism and has been studied by serious literary critics since its publication. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes, despite strong arguments that the protagonist & tenor of the book, is anti-racist & explores notions of race and identity & highlights the hypocrisy required to condone slavery within an ostensibly moral system. However it has Since been adapted for film and Television.

The story begins in fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri, on the shore of the Mississippi River, sometime between 1835 and 1845 (when the first steamboat sailed down the Mississippi). Two young boys, Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, have each come into a considerable sum of money as a result of their earlier adventures (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer). Huck has been placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her sister, Miss Watson, are attempting to civilize him. Huck appreciates their efforts, but finds civilized life confining. His spirits are raised somewhat when Tom Sawyer helps him to escape one night past Miss Watson’s slave Jim. However, his shiftless father “Pap”, sudden reappears who is an abusive parent and drunkard. Although Huck is successful in preventing him from acquiring his fortune, Pap forcibly gains custody of him and moves him to his backwoods cabin. Although Huck prefers this to his life with the widow, he resents his father’s drunken violence and his habit of keeping him locked inside the cabin so he escapes, elaborately fakes his own murder, and sets off down the Mississippi River.While living quite comfortably in the wilderness along the Mississippi, Huck encounters Miss Watson’s slave Jim on an island called Jackson’s Island. Huck learns that Jim has also run away & is trying to make his way to Cairo, Illinois, and then to Ohio. At first, Huck is conflicted over whether to tell someone about Jim’s running away, but as they travel together and talk in depth, Huck begins to know more about Jim’s past and his difficult life &, Huck begins to change his opinion about people, slavery, and life in general.

Huck and Jim take residence In a cavern on a hill on Jackson’s Island. When they can, they scrounge around the river looking for food, wood, and other items. One night, they find a raft they will eventually use to travel down the Mississippi. Later, they find an entire house floating down the river and enter it to grab what they can and also find a dead man, shot in the back while apparently trying to ransack the house. Huck find out the latest news in the area, and is worried by what he learns, so he returns quickly to the island where he tells Jim of the impending danger. The two immediately load up the raft and leave the islands. Huck and Jim become separated. Huck is given shelter by the Grangerfords, a prosperous local family & becomes friends with Buck Grangerford, a boy about his age, and gets involved in the Grangerfords blood feud against another family, the Shepherdsons which comes to a head when Buck’s sister, Sophia Grangerford, elopes with Harney Shepherdson. In the resulting conflict, all the Grangerford males from this branch of the family are shot and killed, and Huck narrowly avoids his own death in the gunfight,

After reuniting with Jim they Sail farther south on the Mississippi River, and rescue two cunning grifters, who join Huck and Jim on the raft. The younger of the two swindlers, a man of about thirty, introduces himself as a son of an English duke (the Duke of Bridgewater) and his father’s rightful successor. The older one, about seventy, then trumps the Duke’s claim by alleging that he is the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France. He continually mispronounces the duke’s title as “Bilgewater” in conversation.The Duke and the King then join Jim and Huck on the raft, committing a series of confidence schemes on the way south. To allow for Jim’s presence, they print fake bills for an escaped slave; and later they paint him up entirely in blue and call him the “Sick Arab”. On one occasion they arrive in a town and advertise a three-night engagement of a play which they call “The Royal Nonesuch”. The play turns out to be only a couple of minutes of hysterical cavorting, not worth anywhere near the 50 cents the townsmen were charged to see it. ThenA drunk called Boggs arrives in town and threatens a southern gentleman by the name of Colonel Sherburn. so Sherburn kills him and almost gets lynched. By the third night of “The Royal Nonesuch”, the townspeople are getting fed up but the Duke and the King have already skipped town, and together with Huck and Jim, they continue down the river.

In the next town they decide to impersonate two brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property, and manage to convince nearly all the townspeople that he is one of the brothers, a preacher just arrived from England, while the Duke pretends to be a deaf-mute to match accounts of the other brother. One man in town is certain that they are a fraud and confronts them. Afterwards, the Duke, suggests that they should cut and run. The King boldly states his intention to continue to liquidate Wilks’ estate.However Huck likes Wilks’ daughters, who treat him with kindness and courtesy, so he tries to thwart the grifters’ plans by stealing back the inheritance money. The arrival of two new men who seem to be the real brothers throws everything into confusion when none of their signatures match the one on record. The townspeople devise a test, which requires digging up the coffin to check. When the money is found in Wilks’ coffin, the Duke and the King are able to escape in the confusion. They manage to rejoin Huck and Jim on the raft & Huck resolves to free Jim, who is being held at the plantation of Silas and Sally Phelps. Huck intercepts Tom on the road and tells him everything, Tom joins Huck’s scheme & develops an elaborate plan to free Jim…

Joanna Trollope OBE

Prolific British writer Joanna Trollope OBE was born 9 December 1943. Joanna Trollope was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh’s College, Oxford. From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office and from 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. She began writing when she was first pregnant, while working as a teacher. For years, she combined both careers, writing in the evenings “to fill the spaces after the children had gone to bed”.She has written eighteen bestselling novels, whose common theme is the nature of modern relationships, especially within families. She writes about tense family relationships with intelligence and clear-eyed sympathy, with a brilliant eye for detail and a finely tuned emotional intelligence and her evocations of human relationships is penetrating and engaging.

Trollope’s books are generally upmarket family dramas and romances, that somewhat transcend these genres via striking realism in terms of human psychology and relationships. Some of her best known novels include the Piano Man, The Austen Project, the Rectors Wife, Eliza Stanhope, Parson Harding’s Daughter, Leaves from the Valley, The City of Gems, The Steps of the Sun, The Taverner’s Place, The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector’s Wife, The Men and the Girls, A Spanish Lover, The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People’s Children, Marrying the Mistress, Girl from the South, Brother and Sister, Second Honeymoon, Friday Nights, The Other Family, Daughters-in-Law, The Soldier’s Wife and Balancing Act. Several of her novels have also been adapted for television including The Rector’s Wife.

In 2008, she wrote a letter in support of J. K. Rowling’s copyright infringement case in America. In 2009, she donated the short story The Piano Man to Oxfam’s ‘Ox-Tales’ project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Trollope’s story was published in the ‘Water’ collection. Joanna has written the first novel in Harper Collins updating of the Jane Austen canon, The Austen Project. Her 2013 version of “Sense and Sensibility” was published in October. Her own family is extremely important to her. She is the eldest of three, has two daughters, two stepsons and nine grandchildren. Joanna was appointed OBE for services to literature in 1996.

John Milton

Best known for the epic poems “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”, the English poet & polemicist, John Milton was born on Bread Street, London, on 9th December 1608. He was a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica, (written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship) is among history’s most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.

During Milton’s life their were many major historical and political divisions in Stuart Britain. Under the increasingly personal rule of Charles I and its breakdown in constitutional confusion and war, Milton studied, travelled, wrote poetry mostly for private circulation, and launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist. Under the Commonwealth of England, the shift in accepted attitudes in government placed him in public office, and he even acted as an official spokesman in certain of his publications. Milton’s views developed from his very extensive reading, as well as travel and experience, from his student days of the 1620s to the English Revolution. Very early on, though, he was championed by Whigs, and decried by Tories: with the regicide Edmund Ludlow he was claimed as an early Whig, while the High Tory Anglican minister Luke Milbourne lumped Milton in with other “Agents of Darkness” such as John Knox, George Buchanan, Richard Baxter, Algernon Sidney and John Locke.

The Restoration of 1660 deprived Milton, of his public platform, but this period saw him complete most of his major works of poetry.including Paradise Lost, and once this was published, Milton’s stature as epic poet was immediately recognised. He cast a formidable shadow over English poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was often judged equal or superior to all other English poets, including Shakespeare. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for his political choices.William Hayley’s 1796 biography called him the “greatest English author”, and he remains generally regarded “as one of the preeminent writers in the English language”; though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as “a poem which…with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind,” though Johnson (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described Milton’s politics as those of an “acrimonious and surly republican”. John Milton sadly passed away 8 November 1674 (aged 65) Bunhill, London, England and was buried in St Giles-without-Cripplegate.

PARADISE LOST

Milton’s epic poem is separated into twelve “books” or sections, and the length of each book varies greatly (the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, having 640). The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, in 1674 a fully “Revised and Augmented” edition with a new division into twelve books was issued. This is the edition that is generally used today.The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later.Milton’s story has two narrative arcs: one being that of Satan (Lucifer) and the other being that of Adam and Eve. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell, or (as it is also called in the poem), Tartarus. In Pandæmonium, Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organise his followers; he is aided by Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers to poison the newly-created Earth and God’s new and most favoured creation, Mankind.

He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus or Aeneas. After an arduous traverse of the Chaos outside Hell, he enters God’s new material World, and later the Garden of Eden.At one point in the story, an Angelic War over Heaven is recounted. Satan’s rebellion follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. The battles between the faithful angels and Satan’s forces take place over three days. The final battle involves the Son of God single-handedly defeating the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishing them from Heaven. Following the purging of Heaven, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total freedom and power to rule over all creation, He gave them one explicit command: not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.

The story of Adam and Eve’s temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still being without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent, successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity and tricking her with rhetoric. Adam, learning that Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another so that if she dies, he must also die. In this manner, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a greater sinner than Eve, as he is aware that what he is doing is wrong.

After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep and have terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination. Eve’s pleas to Adam reconcile them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to “bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee”, and to receive grace from God. Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, and Michael says that Adam may find “a paradise within thee, happier far”.

Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRS FRAS

Writer, Amateur Astronomer and Television personality Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRS FRAS, sadly passed away on 9th December 2012 aged 89. He was Born 4 March 1923, in Pinner, Middlesex, on March 4 1923, and was the son of Captain Charles Caldwell-Moore, MC. Later the family moved to Sussex, where Patrick was to live for the rest of his life. He was educated at home owing to ill health, and wrote his first scientific paper at the age of 13 — his chosen subject was the features in a lunar crater he had seen through a small telescope. At the end of 1941 he joined the RAF to train for aircrew duties during World War II; however his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war. during 1943 left for Canada for training as a navigator. He was commissioned in June 1944 and completed his training at a bomber conversion unit at Lossiemouth in northern Scotland but, due to epilepsy, was declared medically unfit for further flying duties and He left the Service in 1947.

From 1952 he was a freelance writer until One day in 1957 the BBC broadcast a somewhat sensationalist programme about flying saucers. Producers wanted a counterview by a “thoroughly reactionary and sceptical astronomer who knew some science and could talk”, consequently The Sky at Night was born, and it went on to become the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter & attracted millions of viewers. Moore’s Idiosyncrasies such as his rapid diction and monocle made him a popular and instantly recognisable figure on British television, where he became celebrated for the thunderous fervour with which he would utter the words: “We just don’t know!” to emphasise that our comprehension of the universe is incomplete. The secret of the program’s success lay not only in his tremendous learnedness but also in his gusto and humour & he soon attained a prominent status as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter and did more than anyone, with the possible exception of Arthur C Clarke, to educate the British public about astronomy and space travel.He would also happily appear on chat shows, quiz shows and comedy shows, among them The Goodies; Morecambe and Wise; Blankety Blank, and Have I Got News For You. He even starred in digitised form on the children’s video game show GamesMaster.moore was also a connoisseur of music, and sometimes played a xylophone on television. He also wrote the score for an opera about Theseus and the Minotaur. He was a keen sportsman too – particularly on the cricket pitch, where he proved a demon spin bowler. He also played golf and once at his local course set a club record – of 231, including a 43 on the third hole. Chess was another passion (he often carried with him a pocket chess set) and even dabbled in politics.

In 1982 he wrote a humorous but inflammatory book called Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them. It advised that imposing a thin layer of candle grease on those parts of a form marked “for official use only” would prevent the recipient from writing anything and probably drive him mad. “Useful when dealing with the Inland Revenue,” said Moore. He was also A keen pipe smoker & was elected Pipeman of the Year in 1983. In addition to his many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore was an opponent of fox hunting, an outspoken critic of the European Union and served as chairman of the short-lived anti-immigration United Country Party. After his fiancee was killed during World War II, he never married or had children.

Moore was also a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books most of them about astronomy, As an amateur astronomer, he became known as a specialist on observing the Moon and creating the Caldwell catalogue. In 2002 Moore was appointed honorary vice-president of the Society for the History of Astronomy. He also won a Bafta for his services to television. He also continued to publish books to the end of his life. Recent titles include Patrick Moore on the Moon (2000, new edition 2006); The Data Book of Astronomy (2001); Patrick Moore: the autobiography (2005); Asteroid (with Arthur C Clarke, 2005); Stars of Destiny (2005); Ancient Lights (2008); and Can You Play Cricket on Mars? (2009). This year alone he published Astronomy with a Budget Telescope: An Introduction to Practical Observing; The Sky at Night: Answers to Questions from Across the Universe; Miaow!: Cats really are nicer than people!; and The New Astronomy Guide: Star Gazing in the Digital Age.

During his distinguished career Sir Patrick Moore received many honours. In 1968 he was appointed OBE then CBE in 1988 and finally knighted in 2001 .In 1982 a minor planet was named after him by the International Astronomical Union. He also held the posts of president of the British Astronomical Association and director of the Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland. Yet the Royal Society refused to elect him as a Fellow — one of their number declared that he had committed the ultimate sin of “making science popular”. In 2001, however, he was elected to an honorary Fellowship.

Christina Rossetti

English poet Christina Georgina Rosetti was Born 5 December 1830, She wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children’s poems, including Goblin Market, Remember, and the words of the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter”. Rossetti was educated at home by her mother, who had her study religious works, classics, fairy tales and novels. Rossetti enjoyed the works of Keats, Scott, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis. The influence of the work of Dante Alighieri, Petrarch and other Italian writers had a deep impact on Rossetti’s later writing. The family homes in Bloomsbury at 38 and later 50 Charlotte Street were within easy reach of Madam Tussauds, London Zoo and the newly opened Regent’s Park, which she visited regularly, Rossetti was very much a London child, and, it seems, a happy one.

ln the 1840s, her family faced severe financial difficulties due to the deterioration of her father’s physical and mental health. He had Bronchitis, possibly tuberculosis, and faced losing his sight. He gave up his teaching post at King’s College and though he lived another 11 years, he suffered from depression and was never physically well again. So Rossetti’s mother began teaching and Maria became a live-in governess. At this time her brother William was working for the Excise Office and Gabriel was at art school, leading Christina’s life at home to become one of increasing isolation. When she was 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown and left school. Bouts of depression and related illness followed. She, became deeply interested in theAnglo-Catholic movement that developed in the Church of England. Religious devotion came to play a major role in Rossetti’s life

In her late teens, Rossetti became engaged to the painter James Collinson. like her brothers Dante and William, he was one of the founding members of the avant-garde artistic group, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The engagement was broken in 1850 when he reverted to Catholicism. Later she became involved with the linguist Charles Cayley, but declined to marry him, also for religious reasons. The third offer came from the painter John Brett, whom she also refused. Rossetti sat for several of Dante Rossetti’s most famous paintings. In 1848, she was the model for the Virgin Mary in his first completed oil painting, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, which was the first work to be inscribed with the initials ‘PRB’, ( Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood).The following year she modelled again for his depiction of the Annunciation, Ecce Ancilla Domini. A line from her poem “Who shall deliver me?” inspired the famous painting by Fernand Khnopff called “I lock my door upon myself”. In 1849 she became seriously ill again, suffering from depression and also had a major religious crisis.

Rossetti began writing down and dating her poems from 1842, and From 1847 she began experimenting with verse forms such as sonnets, hymns and ballads; drawing narratives from the Bible, folk tales and the lives of the saints. Her early pieces often feature meditations on death and loss. She published her first two poems (“Death’s Chill Between” and “Heart’s Chill Between”), which appeared in the Athenaeum, in 1848 when she was 18. Under the pen-name “Ellen Alleyne”, she contributed to the literary magazine, The Germ, published by the Pre-Raphaelites from January – April 1850 and edited by her brother William. Her most famous collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems, appeared in 1862, when she was 31. It received widespread praise, establishing her as the main female poet of the time. Hopkins, Swinburne and Tennyson lauded her work. Rossetti was hailed as a successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. one of Rossetti’s best known works Goblin Market Is about the misadventures of two sisters’ when they encounter goblins.

Rossetti was a volunteer worker from 1859 to 1870 at the St. Mary Magdalene “house of charity” in Highgate, a refuge for former prostitutes and it is suggested Goblin Market may have been inspired by the “fallen women” she came to know. There are parallels with Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner given both poems’ religious themes of temptation, sin and redemption by vicarious suffering. Swinburne in 1883 dedicated his collection A Century of Roundels to Rossetti as she had adopted his roundelform in a number of poems, as exampled by her Wife to Husband She was ambivalent about women’s suffrage, but many scholars have identified feminist themes in her poetry. She was opposed to slavery (in the American South), cruelty to animals (in the prevalent practice of animal experimentation), and the exploitation of girls in under-age prostitution.

Rossetti maintained a very large circle of friends and correspondents and continued to write and publish for the rest of her life, primarily focusing on devotional writing and children’s poetry. In 1892, Rossetti wrote The Face of the Deep, a book of devotional prose, and oversaw the production of a new and enlarged edition ofSing-Song, published in 1893. In the later decades of her life, Rossetti suffered from Graves Disease, diagnosed in 1872 suffering a nearly fatal attack in the early 1870s. ln 1893, she developed breast cancer and though the tumour was removed, she suffered a recurrence in September 1894 and sadly died in Bloomsbury on 29 December 1894. She was buried inHighgate Cemetery and the place where she died, in Torrington Square, is marked with a stone table

Alexandre Dumas

Best known for his historical novels of high adventure The French Author Alexandre Dumas sadly passed away on 5 December 1870. He was born 24 July 1802 and raised in poverty, Dumas father tragically died when he was four, and he faced discrimination because of his ethnic African ancestry, although he was more than three-quarters French. Through his father, who was born in Saint-Domingue, he was also the grandson of a French nobleman and a mixed-race slave. His mother was French.As a young man, Dumas’ aristocratic rank helped him acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans. He began his career by writing plays, he also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totaled 100,000 pages. In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Théâtre Historique in Paris.
He began working for Louis-Philippe,where Dumas began writing articles for magazines and plays for the theatre. As an adult, he used his slave grandmother’s surname of Dumas, as his father had done as an adult. His first play, Henry III and His Courts, produced in 1829 when he was 27 years old, met with acclaim. The next year, his second play, Christine, was equally popular. These successes gave him sufficient income to write full-time. In 1830, Dumas participated in the Revolution that ousted Charles X and replaced him with Dumas’ former employer, the Duke of Orléans, who ruled as Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King. Until the mid-1830s, life in France remained unsettled, with sporadic riots by disgruntled Republicans and impoverished urban workers seeking change. As life slowly returned to normal, the nation began to industrialise. An improving economy combined with the end of press censorship made the times rewarding for Alexandre Dumas’ literary skills.
After writing additional successful plays, Dumas switched to writing novels. Although attracted to an extravagant lifestyle and always spending more than he earned, Dumas proved to be an astute marketer. As newspapers were publishing many serial novels, in 1838, Dumas rewrote one of his plays as his first serial novel, Le Capitaine Paul. He founded a production studio, staffed with writers who turned out hundreds of stories, all subject to his personal direction, editing, and additions.
From 1839 to 1841, Dumas, with the assistance of several friends, compiled Celebrated Crimes, an eight-volume collection of essays on famous criminals and crimes from European history. He featured Beatrice Cenci, Martin Guerre, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, as well as more recent events and criminals, including the cases of the alleged murderers Karl Ludwig Sand and Antoine François Desrues, who were executed.
Dumas also collaborated with Augustin Grisier, his fencing master, in his 1840 novel, The Fencing Master. The story is written as Grisier’s account of how he came to witness the events of the Decembrist revolt in Russia. The novel was eventually banned in Russia by Czar Nicholas I, and Dumas was prohibited from visiting the country until after the Czar’s death. Dumas refers to Grisier with great respect in The Count of Monte Cristo, The Corsican Brothers, and in his memoirs.
Anotherof Dumas major collaborators, was Auguste Maquet and when Dumas wrote the short novel Georges (1843), which uses ideas and plots later repeated in The Count of Monte Cristo. Maquet took Dumas to court to try to get authorial recognition and a higher rate of payment for his work. He was successful in getting more money, but not a by-line.
In 1851, Dumas left France for Belgium. After several years, he moved on to Russia for a few years, before going to Italy. In 1861 he founded and published the newspaper, L’ Indipendente, which supported the Italian unification effort. In 1864 he returned to Paris. Married, Dumas also had numerous affairs. He was known to have at least four illegitimate children, including a boy named Alexandre Dumas who also became a successful novelist and playwright in his own right, and was known as Alexandre Dumas, fils (son), while the elder Dumas became known as Alexandre Dumas, père (father).
Dumas’ novels became so popular that they were soon translated into English and other languages. His writing earned him a great deal of money, but he was frequently insolvent, as he spent lavishly on women and sumptuous living. In 1846, he had built a country house outside Paris at Le Port-Marly, the large Château de Monte-Cristo, with an additional building for his writing studio. It was often filled with strangers and acquaintances who stayed for lengthy visits and took advantage of his generosity. Two years later, faced with financial difficulties, he sold the entire property.

Dumas wrote in a wide variety of genres and published a total of 100,000 pages in his lifetime. He also made use of his experience, writing travel books after taking journeys, including those motivated by reasons other than pleasure. After King Louis-Philippe was ousted in a revolt, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was elected president. As Bonaparte disapproved of the author, Dumas fled in 1851 to Brussels, Belgium, which was also an effort to escape his creditors. About 1859, he moved to Russia, where French was the second language of the elite and his writings were enormously popular. Dumas spent two years in Russia before leaving to seek different adventures. He published travel books about Russia.
In March 1861, the kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, with Victor Emmanuel II as its king. Dumas travelled there and for the next three years participated in the movement for Italian unification. He founded and led a newspaper, Indipendente. Returning to Paris in 1864, he published travel books about Italy. Despite Dumas’ aristocratic background and personal success, he had to deal with discrimination related to his mixed-race ancestry. In 1843, he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism.
Dumas was prolific in several genres and his novels have been Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were originally published as serials and have also been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films including The Man in the Iron Mask, the Count of Monte Christo and the Three Musketeers. Dumas’ last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, remained unfinished at his death, however it was completed by a scholar and published in 2005, becoming a bestseller in France. It was also later published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier.