was born July 24, 1802, at Villiers-Cotterets, France, the son of Napoleon's famous mulatto general, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie. Dumas began writing at an early age and saw his first success in a play he wrote entitled Henri III et sa Cour
(1829). A prolific author, Dumas was also an adventurer and took part in the Revolution of 1830. Dumas is most famous for his brilliant historical novels, which he wrote with collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, and which were serialized in the popular press of the day. His most popular works are The Three Musketeers
(1844), The Count of Monte Cristo
(1844-45), and The Man in the Iron Mask
(1848-50). Dumas made and lost several fortunes, and died penniless on December 5, 1870. Roger Celestin
is a professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut. He has published on French authors from the Renaissance to the twentieth century and is coeditor of the journal Contemporary French & Francophone Studies/SITES.