Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

Re-imagining Dumas

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message 1: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 191 comments Has anyone heard about the controversy in France? There's a new film about Alexandre Dumas, fils, author of The Three Musketeers etc. They've cast Gerard Depardieu, in dark make-up and a curly wig, rather than finding a black French actor for the role. The film also reportedly suggests that it was Dumas' white assistant who did the real writing. Here's an article from the Telegraph:

message 2: by El (new)

El That's interesting, Hazel - I had not heard about this. I really don't like Gerard Depardieu under any circumstances but that's beside the point. I agree with the article that they "missed a chance to celebrate ethnic diversity in France and remind the world of the writer's origins". I think that's a very important point to make considering most people do not realize that Dumas was not a white French writer.

BTW, it should be "Alexandre Dumas, pere". Fils would refer to his illegitimate son who was also a writer. :)

message 3: by Hazel (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:19AM) (new)

Hazel | 191 comments Ah, I thought 'pere' was his father the general, 'fils' the historical novelist, and 'grandfils' the playwright. Non?

Pardon, I don't know how to do accents.


Nope, I've just googled it. You're right, El. The general doesn't seem to count. So the historical novelist is 'pere'.

message 4: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments That is just sad. I agree - probably 95% of those who have heard of Dumas have no idea that he was not white. I suppose that it's too late to change this movie, but I hope that someone does better in the future.

message 5: by El (new)

El Has anyone read Georges by Dumas? Unlike the majority of his fiction, Georges actually features an interracial hero. It made me wish Dumas had written more about race relations in his life - he did a great job with Georges, combining swashbuckling with issues of race. I would love to see them make a movie of it as well, which I don't say very often - but my hope is that a movie would encourage more to pick up the book since it's rarely discussed as far as Dumas goes.

message 6: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 191 comments I was thinking today that I don't remember Dumas, pere addressing race in his novels, although my impression was that all the famous Dumas men were accepted by their contemporaries as men of colour. I think I need to look for a biography. Thank you, El, now I'll look for Georges, too.

message 7: by El (new)

El Hazel, let me know if you find a good bio. I'd like to know more too.

message 8: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments me, i had no idea dumas either was non white. even after edwidge danticat celebrated him as one of haiti's treasures. damn, western culture.

message 9: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 191 comments We are blind, aren't we?

message 10: by Mistinguette (new)

Mistinguette Smith | 191 comments Never heard of Georges,will look for it!

message 11: by O. (new)

O. Joseph (goodreadscomuser_ojoseph) | 2 comments I had heard that Dumas was not white. However during his life time in France, the inhabitants did not have the "American mentality" of people of color. French citizens were from different parts of the world and the race of the person was sometimes not noted. But to have this information publicized today is very important!

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