Friday 9 December 2016

Author Dumas had 'help writing epics'

Henry Samuel in Paris

Published 10/02/2010 | 05:00

Alexandre Dumas has a special place in France's literary hall of fame as the father of swashbuckling epics.

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But a leading academic has cast doubt on how much of 'The Three Musketeers' he actually penned.

The importance of the author's ghost writer is explained by Claude Schopp, France's leading Dumas expert, in his 'Dictionary of Alexandre Dumas' out next month.

He claims that Auguste Jules Maquet was the man who actually came up with the plot for the trilogy featuring Porthos, Athos, Aramis and d'Artagnan.

In the 1830s, Maquet, a novelist and playwright, had tried to have his works published but was told: "You have written a masterpiece, but you're not a name and we only want names."

Another writer put him in touch with Dumas and asked the author if he would rework one of Maquet's plays, which was subsequently published.

Dumas then asked Maquet if he would let him publish one of his novels. Dumas renamed it 'Le Chevalier d'Harmental' and it was published in 1841, signed only Alexandre Dumas.

This was to be the start of a literary partnership. Maquet would come up with the plots and Dumas would expand on the story, Mr Schopp explained.

But in 1858, the pair fell out over money. Maquet took him to court three times, asking for money and recognition. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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