Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Dumas’s Black Dad Inspired ’Monte Cristo’: Lewis Lapham

"The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo" is written by Tom Reiss. Source: Crown via Bloomberg

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- In writing action-packed novels like “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers,” Alexandre Dumas was inspired by the exploits of his father.

(To listen to the podcast, click here.)

Born in 1762 in Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, to Antoine, a renegade French nobleman, and Marie-Cessette, his black slave mistress, Thomas-Alexandre spent a carefree childhood riding wild horses and playing with his three mixed-race siblings on pristine beaches.

When Antoine decided to go back to France and claim his titles and property, he sold Marie-Cessette and three of his children to a man from Nantes.

To pay for his passage, Antoine also sold Thomas-Alexandre to a Captain Langlois in Port au Prince, but with the provision that he could be bought back.

Redeemed, Thomas-Alexandre arrived at Le Havre on Aug. 30, 1776. His father dressed him in silk and brocade, and making sure he was instructed in swordsmanship, history, classics, science, music and dance, turned him into a fashionable young aristocrat.

I spoke with Tom Reiss, author of “The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo,” on the following topics:

1. Son of Renegade Noble

2. Sold Into Slavery

3. Revolutionary Hero

4. Clashes with Napoleon

5. Search for Justice

To buy this book in North America, click here.

(Lewis Lapham is the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s magazine. He hosts “The World in Time” interview series for Bloomberg News.)

Muse highlights include Zinta Lundborg on NYC Weekend Best and Greg Evans on movies.

To contact the writer on the story: Lewis Lapham in New York at lhl@laphamsquarterly.org.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.