The camellia lady

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Marie Duplessis

The Lady of the Camellias ( La Dame aux camélias ) is a novel by French author Alexandre Dumas the Elder. J. It was published in Paris in 1848 and became one of the greatest successes of the author, who was otherwise overshadowed by his father .

Like other novels by Dumas' d. J., the book deals with the demi-monde of Paris , the demi -monde , in which Dumas moved. The action of The Lady of the Camellias is partly autobiographical and tells the story of his encounter when he was twenty with the milliner and courtesan Marie Duplessis .


The young Armand Duval, a man from the best circles of Parisian society, meets and falls in love with the courtesan Marguerite Gautier. The only flowers you can gift them with are camellias . After initial jealousies and withdrawals on the part of Armand, who falls more and more in love with her and accordingly reacts angrily to her lifestyle, Marguerite also falls in love with him and tries to give up her earlier, dissolute life for his sake and start a new life with him.

When his father, an extremely modest person who is very concerned about his son, finds out about the liaison , he first tries energetically to change his mind. When he politely but firmly refuses, the father secretly seeks out Marguerite and indignantly reproaches her. When she convinces him of the genuineness of her love for Armand, he implores her not to endanger his son and his future with the dishonorable connection. She bends, breaks up with Armand and goes back to her old life for his sake.

Armand doesn't find out anything about what's going on and is deeply hurt. Only when she is dying with severe lung disease does he learn the reasons for her actions.



Poster by Alfons Mucha for performances of La Dame aux camélias with Sarah Bernhardt , 1896

Since the book was very popular with the public, Dumas adapted the play into a stage drama, which premiered in Paris on February 2, 1852, after the premiere had been postponed several times for moral reasons. From 1880, the French actress Sarah Bernhardt played the leading role in Lady of the Camellias and enjoyed great success with it worldwide. The play was to become her life role.


Giuseppe Verdi set the drama to music in the 1853 opera La traviata , one of the first realistic operas of its time.

film adaptations

The Lady of the Camellias has been adapted into over 20 motion pictures. Especially in early film history, the material was popular as ideal material for famous actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt and Greta Garbo .

radio plays

There are two radio play productions from Bayerischer Rundfunk .

A radio play was also produced at the West German Broadcasting Corporation .


The choreographer John Neumeier created a ballet in 1978 that premiered on November 4 of the same year in the Great House of the Württemberg State Theater in Stuttgart with Marcia Haydée in the title role.

John Neumeier himself filmed his ballet in 1987, starring Marcia Haydée, Ivan Liška , François Klaus , Colleen Scott and Vladimir Klos .


  • Alexandre Dumas the Elder J.: The Lady of the Camellias . Translated by Walter Hoyer. Structure of the paperback publishing house, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-7466-6100-5
  • Alexandre Dumas the Elder J.: Die Kameliendame , novel, translated from French and edited with an afterword by Michaela Meßner, dtv, Munich 1993, 7th edition 2005, ISBN 978-3-423-12479-9
  • Alexandre Dumas the Elder J.: The Lady of the Camellias , Complete new translation by Andrea Spingler, Berlin: Insel, 2012, ISBN 978-3-458-17557-5 .


  • Alexandre Dumas the Elder J.: Die Kameliendame , novel read by Senta Vogt (6 audio CDs + 1 bonus CD in MP3 format), TechniSat Digital, Daun 2006, ISBN 978-3-86667-306-9 .

web links


  1. Moulin Rouge: Mammon's sake