1998 0-7734-8241-5 This book offers the reader a unique insight into the French theatre at the end of the 19th century. La Route de Thèbes has never been published yet was the final work of the most consistently popular serious dramatist in France during the second half of the 19th century. The play itself treats all the major themes of Dumas’s theatre plus a debate, unique in his work, between the competing claims of science and religion. The debate was sufficiently controversial that Dumas hesitated to complete the play. The Introduction places the work in context (Romanticism, melodrama and the work of serious dramatists such as Eugène Augier). The study includes an outline of his life, and examines the whole of his dramatic output and the various stages of its thematic and formal development. Finally, the extant manuscripts allow a review of the play’s development during composition and a suggested ending put forward based upon both internal and external evidence.