Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Jamaica Kincaid came to the United States in 1966 as a free-lance writer and is now on staff at the New Yorker. Her first volume of stories, At the Bottom of the River (1983), depicts men and women alienated from each other by conflict, physical separation, or death. The story "My Mother" vividly describes the painful separation between mother and daughter; and the stories in Annie John (1985) clearly reveal that the world of the past cannot be recaptured. Kincaid's poetic use of language and everyday images allows the reader to experience ordinary events with a new and heightened sensitivity. Kincaid is a relatively new writer whose works are beginning to receive critical attention.
After an idle youth, Alexandre Dumas went to Paris and spent some years writing. A volume of short stories and some farces were his only productions until 1927, when his play Henri III (1829) became a success and made him famous. It was as a storyteller rather than a playwright, however, that Dumas gained enduring success. Perhaps the most broadly popular of French romantic novelists, Dumas published some 1,200 volumes during his lifetime. These were not all written by him, however, but were the works of a body of collaborators known as "Dumas & Co." Some of his best works were plagiarized. For example, The Three Musketeers (1844) was taken from the Memoirs of Artagnan by an eighteenth-century writer, and The Count of Monte Cristo (1845) from Penchet's A Diamond and a Vengeance. At the end of his life, drained of money and sapped by his work, Dumas left Paris and went to live at his son's villa, where he remained until his death.