Alexandre Dumas and Italian Unification

The military and political events unfolding during the unification of Italy in 1860 are full of fascinating details.  F.W.J. Hemmings, in his biography of Alexandre Dumas (yes, the swashbuckling author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo), writes:

“As recompense for the services he had rendered the cause of Italian unity, Dumas had, almost playfully, made two requests of Garibaldi: that when Naples was taken, he should be issued with a license to shoot game in the Capodimonte reservation; and that excavations at Pompei should be started up again under his personal supervision”.  Subsequently, the official title of Director of Excavations and Museums of the City of  Naples was conferred on Dumas.

However, the nomination did not meet with the approval of the people of Naples, who demonstrated in the streets until, to Dumas’ great chagrin, it was rescinded.

In a letter to Garibaldi Dumas wrote: “Do you want to be King of Naples?  You have almost as good a chance as M. Murat, and a better one than King Victor Emmanuel”

and, again quoting Hemmings:

”What chiefly kept Dumas in Naples, after the collapse of his high hopes of major archaeological discoveries in Pompei, was the editorship of the daily newspaper L’Indipendente, which started publication on October 11, 1960….he was able to compose and serialize a history of Naples between 1804 and 1815, under the title I Borboni di Napoli – a complete misnomer, of course”

Leave a Reply