Title Thumbnail

Dumas' Paris

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
There have been many erudite works, in French and other languages, describing the antiquities and historical annals of Paris from the earliest times; and in English the mid-Victorian era turned out—there are no other words for it—innumerable “books of travel” which recounted alleged adventures, strewn here and there with bits of historical lore and anecdotes, none too relevant, and in most cases not of undoubted authenticity. Of the actual life of the people in the city of light and learning, from the times of Napoleon onward, one has to go to the fountainhead of written records, the acknowledged masterworks in the language of the country itself, the reports andannuaires of various sociétês, commissions, and what not, and collect therefrom such information as he finds may suit his purpose. In this manner may be built up a fabric which shall be authentic and proper, varied and, most likely, quite different in its plan, outline, and scope from other works of a similar purport, which may be recalled in connection therewith. Paris has been rich in topographical historians, and, indeed, in her chroniclers in all departments, and there is no end of relative matter which may be evolved from an intimacy with these sources of supply. In a way, however, this information ought to be supplemented by a personal knowledge on the part of the compiler, which should make localities, distances, and environments—to say nothing of the actual facts and dates of history—appear as something more than a shrine to be worshipped from afar. Given, then, these ingredients, with a love of the subject,—no less than of the city of its domicile,—it has formed a pleasant itinerary in the experiences of the writer of this book to have followed in the footsteps of Dumas père, through the streets that he knew and loved, taking note meanwhile of such contemporary shadows as were thrown across his path, and such events of importance or significance as blended in with the scheme of the literary life of the times in which he lived, none the less than of those of the characters in his books.