In honor of one of the most revered French authors of the 19th century, today’s Doodle slideshow celebrates Alexandre Dumas. Perhaps best known for swashbuckling adventure novels, Dumas produced a prolific body of work that continues to thrill readers around the world today. An abbreviated version of one of his most famous novels, “Le Comte de Monte Cristo” (“The Count of Monte Cristo,” 1844-’45), is included (spoiler-free!) in today’s Doodle artwork. On this day in 1884, the Parisian newspaper Les Journal des Débats (The Journal of Debates) published the first installment of the novel, which appeared serially in the publication through 1846.
Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was born in 1802 in Villers-Cotterêts, France. He later took the name Alexandre Dumas, assuming the surname of his paternal grandmother Marie-Césette Dumas who was a woman of African descent and a slave in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). As a child, Dumas was regaled with stories of his late father’s exploits as a general, elements of which later found their way into some of the writer’s most famous works.
Dumas moved to Paris in 1822 and became an accomplished playwright before he hit upon monumental success with his action-packed serialized novels of the 1840s, including “Les Troi Mousquetaires” (“The Three Musketeers,” 1844). Today these works have made him one of the most popular French authors in the world, and his books have been translated into over 100 languages.
In the late 1980s, a long-lost Dumas novel was uncovered in Paris’ National Library of France. Titled “Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine” (“The Last Cavalier”), the book was finally published in 2005.
Merci, Alexandre Dumas, for all the excitement you’ve given to so many readers!
Today’s Doodle art was created by Doodler Matt Cruickshank.
Below, he shares some thoughts on the making of the Doodle:
Q: What was your creative approach for this Doodle? Why did you choose this approach?
A: The slideshow format allows for a graphic novel of sequential images. This seemed like an interesting visual approach - a modern-day take on the old printed newspaper comics.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: The rich and beautifully told tale of Edmund in “The Count of Monte Cristo.” The settings and characters are so wonderfully thought out. It’s a treasure trove of visual ideas. It would be impossible to tell a 640 page novel in 6 panels without words, so I took visual elements such as a chess piece from the film adaptation. This served to illustrate Fenands treachery over time. Dumas gave us so many rich worlds to adapt and play with.
Q: What do you hope people will take away from this Doodle?
A: That we can be inspired by Dumas’ incredible storytelling. We can learn so much from this larger-than-life man!