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Alexander Dumas: The Pioneer Essay

1324 words - 5 pages

Alexandre Dumas is a man who lived his life in a time when racism ran quite rampant. Today, Dumas is known by his constant work toward a literary movement that is recognized even today. Dumas frowned upon an era known today as the “Age of Wit” ("Introductory Lecture on the Neoclassical Period in English Literature”) and advocated a new writing style, which managed to grow prominent throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.. Despite his racial and writing criticisms, Alexandre Dumas engages his readers with this Romantic, yet adventurous style and was a pioneering author in the Romantic Movement.
The beginnings of Dumas’ life took place in a time in which Neoclassicism was the dominant writing style. Neoclassicism was a movement that began prior to Romanticism that focused on the glorification of the more distant, Roman past and attempted to suppress the immediate past ("Introductory Lecture on the Neoclassical Period in English Literature”). This became the first great age of literary criticism and also advocated journalism ("Introductory Lecture on the Neoclassical Period in English Literature”), where the main focuses during were emotional restraint, order, logic, technical precision, balance, and decorum (“What Is Romanticism?”). This movement, however, was toppled by the Romantic Movement, beginning with the publishing of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth in 1798 ("Introductory Lecture on the Neoclassical Period in English Literature”). However, in the 1830s, the French Revolution began to dominate the country (“Alexandre Dumas”). This caused the uplifting of press censorship (“Alexandre Dumas”). Unfortunately, Dumas began to suffer from constant “bullying” by the press due to the fact that he was black. He was subject to racist cartoons in the press, the most famous one including a depiction of him as a cannibal, stirring a pot (Martone 12). Even the actresses in his plays disliked him, solely on his skin color (Martone 12). This slight handicap did not stop Dumas, however; instead of submitting to the racist people around him, he continued to write his novels, disregarding racial comments around him
Alexandre looked at literature through a lense that was not common to the writers around him. He favored Romanticism, which was a movement that lasted during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that revolted against the prior Neoclassical era (“What Is Romanticism?”). The focal points of the Romantic era were imagination, emotion, and freedom (“What Is Romanticism?”). Unlike popular writers like Charles Dickens and Balzac, he tried his best to turn away from realism, but did not completely abandon it, for he wanted to sell his books and make money (Mahtab 3: Pilkington). As a result of this, Dumas incorporated a miniscule amount of realism in order to make his stories more believable (Pilkington). The realists and Neoclassicists of his time mainly focused on the obvious problems with society, depicted stories in slums in the...

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