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ALEXANDRE DUMAS: Born 24 July 1802, in Picardy, France; son of Alexandre-Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman and general commissioner, and Marie-Cessette Dumas, a slave who was of Afro-Caribbean ancestry. His father died when he was four, which left his mother in the position of not able to provide her son with much of an education, but he read everything he could. His mother's stories of his father's bravery during the campaigns of the Revolutionary Wars inspired the boy's vivid imagination. In 1822, at 20 years old, Alexandre moved to Paris and worked for Louis-Philippe, the Duke of Orleans. Dumas began writing articles for magazines and plays for the theatre. His first two plays were successful, providing him with income to write full time. He began his rise in the literary world and was best known for his historical novels of high adventure. Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of his novels include The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.