Dumas [Davy de la Pailleterie], Alexandre [père]
- Benjamin Walton
(b Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, July 24, 1802; d Puys, nr Dieppe, Dec 5, 1870). French dramatist and novelist. By his own account the least musical man of his acquaintance, unable to tune a violin after three years of lessons, Dumas’s place in the history of 19th-century music remains contradictory. At a purely social level, he was prominent in the music-loving literary community in 1830s Paris, both as contributor and member of the editorial board on Schlesinger’s Revue et gazette musicale (1835–8). He was present at many of the defining moments of French musical Romanticism, from the première of Berlioz’s Lélio (1832) to the imaginary performance of Beethoven by Liszt pictured in Josef Danhauser’s famous painting, ‘Souvenir de Liszt’ (1840). Having moved to Paris in 1822, Dumas earned his reputation overnight with the success of Henri III et sa cour at the Théâtre Français (...