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.
Luc Sante is the author ofLow Life,Evidence, andThe Factory of Facts. He teaches at Bard College and lives in New York.