1My dear ,for the hurt you sought to do me was is your good opinion.
2Men, instead of being content with being freely given for long periods what they hardly dared hope to get once, are forever asking their mistresses for an account of the present, the past and even the future. As they get used to a mistress, they try to dominate her, and they become all the more demanding the more they are given.
3Life is no more than the repeated fulfilling of a permanent
4.Wholly pure sentiments are to be found only in women who are wholly chaste.
5True love always makes a man finer,whatever sort of woman inspires it.
6When your life has become so dependent on a habit as strong as our habit of loving,it hardly seems possible that the habit can be broken without also demolishing everything else which buttresses your life.
Alexandre Dumas, fils (son), born in Paris in 1824, is considered one of the foremost French dramatists of the nineteenth century. He was the illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas, pre (father), the author of such novels as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
Dumas was raised by his seamstremother, Catherine Labay, until his father legally recognized him and assumed responsibility for his care. He attended college but left before receiving a degree. His illegitimacy caused him much unhappiness, both in private school and in college where he had few friends. At age seventeen, he moved in with his father, soon adopted his extravagant lifestyle and fell into debt. At the theatre one evening he first saw Marie Duplessis, already famous in the demimonde for her beauty and ability to get men to spend money on her. In an episode reflected in the opera, he was at her home one day when a coughing episode resulted in her spitting up blood. He urged her to change her way of life, but she replied, I should die. This life of excitement is what keeps me alive. He offered the kind of life she would need to get well, and she finally agreed upon the condition. You are not to spy on me, you are not to ask questions; I shall live exactly as I please without giving you any account of what I do. Thus began liaison, as a result of which Dumas was soon deeply in debt. Finally, he decided he must break with her and sent her t��־��he following letter.
My dear Marie, I am neither rich enough to love you as I should like, nor poor enough to be loved by you as you would like. There is nothing for us to do but forget you a name which must mean very little to you; I a happinewhich is no longer possible for me. Needleto tell you how miserable I am, since you know how I love you. So, this is goodbye. You are too tenderhearted not to understand the reason for this letter, too intelligent not to forgive me. A thousand souvenirs,
He was on a trip to Spain and North Africa when he learned that she was gravely ill. He wrote to her, telling her he would return and ask for her forgiveness. But he waited too long. Duplessis died of tuberculosis in 1846. Her tragic death, along with bitterneover his illegitimacy, inspire Dumas to write the novel La Dame aux camlias (The Lady of the Camellias), portions of which are based on the Duplessis-Dumas affair. The name of the hero, Armand Duval, is a thin disguise for the author. Actually, Dumas tells the story in the third person as it was related to him by Armand Duval.
Dumas ends his novel with great admiration for his he-ro-in-e: I do not draw from this story the conclusion that all women like Marguerite are capable of doing all that she did...far from it; but I have discovered that one of them experienced a serious love in the course of her life, that she suffered for it, and that she died of it. In life, Dumas had tried to save her; in the novel he tried to redeem her m����ƥ���˶���ĸ���emory by ma-ki-ng her a much leself-centered and more sympathetic character. This is the Marie best known today in her manifestations as Violetta, Camille and Marguerite.
Dumass greatest triumph came in 1852 with the production of the stage adaptation of the play based on this novel. It faithfully portrayed the life of a Parisian courtesan and brought realism to the French stage. His father was at first skeptical of the proposal to convert the novel to a play but so moved by the result that he agreed to produce it. Censors feared audiences would recognize characters as admirers of Duplessis and create a scandal, delaying the opening for four years. A powerful member of the nobility, the Duc de Morny, half brother of Napolen III, supported Dumas, and the play was a success. It enabled Duma to pay off his debts, many incurred with Marie. Henry James later observed, Some tender young men and some coughing young women have only to speak the lines to give it a great place among the love stories of the world. Giuseppe Verdi apparently heartily agreed because he based his popular opera La traviata on Dumass work.
The succeof La traviata did not quiet the critics of Dumass La Dame aux camlias. Some considered the story poor and clumsy and said it cast a very thin veil over the most immoral acts. The same critics said Marguerite Gautier (the name given to the Duplessis in the play) is totally corrupt and in real life would not have given up her lover until he had no money left to support her. One wrote, We are bound to protest against the false halo which he has shed round Marquerite to render her attractive to the undiscriminating reader.
The critics and essayists have continued to evaluate Dumass work. In a 1972 essay, Roger Clark wrote, It is a society from which there can be no escape, in which the penalty for non-conformity is death. In 1874, Dumas was elected to the illustrious LAcademie Fran?aise, an act which also prompted severe criticism. It was said, In comedies inherently vicious he pauses to preach virtue but with language shocking even to vice, yet he has been elected a member of the French Academy, constituted to be a tribunal of taste.
Clayton Hamilton attempted to explain why the play has held the stage for over a century. He believes that it is because every celebrated actredesires to play the role of Marguerite Gautier.
No woman has ever failed as Camille (the name later given the he-ro-in-e in this country for no explicable reason). It is kept alive because it contains a very easy and celebrated part that every ambitious actrewants to play. La Dame aux camlias is brought back decade after decade, not by reason of the permanent importance of the suthor but by reason of recurrent aspirations of an ever-growing group of emotional actresses.
Among the famous actresses who have had successes as Camille were Eleanora Duse, Sarah Bernhardt and Greta Garbo, who starred in the 1937 film with Robert Taylor. Bernhardt first played the role in her thirties and continued it until a number of her farewell tours when she was seventy and had only one leg.
Dumas had a relationship with a Russian princein 1859. A daughter was born, but they did not acknowledge her as theirs until the princewas widowed. He continued to write material that shocked his contemporaries eleven of his plays have illicit love as a theme yet he was admitted to the Legion dhonneur. His wife died in 1895 and, after marrying his long-time mistress, he died that same year.
In 1929, the Chicago Civic Opera produced a new
work, Camille by a young American composer, Hamilton Forrest, and commissioned by the famous soprano, Mary Garden. It was to be sung in French with a contemporary setting. After many delays, it finally opened to mixed reviews. Mary Garden was acclaimed, the music leso. One critic called it a masterpiece, another saw no future for it. It had a few more performances, and parts were broadcast on the radio; then it disappeared. Despite some recent attempts to revive interest in it, Camille is probably doomed to obscurity, while Verdis La traviata continues to be one of the most popular and frequently performed operas.