|Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition||Public Domain via Project Gutenberg|
(1858- ), French dramatist, was born in Paris of poor parents on the 19th of January 1858. A one-act play, Bernard Palissy, written in collaboration with M. Gaston Salandri, was produced in 1879, but he had to wait eleven years before he obtained another hearing, his Ménage d' artistes being produced by Antoine at the Théâtre Libre in 1890. His plays are essentially didactic, being aimed at some weakness or iniquity of the social system. Blanchette (1892) pointed out the evil results of education of girls of the working classes; M. de Réboval (1892) was directed against pharisaism; L'Engrenage (1894) against corruption in politics; Les Bienssaiteurs (1896) against the frivolity of fashionable charity; and L'Évasion (1896) satirized an indicriminate belief in the doctrine of heredity. Les Trois Filles de M. Dupont (1897) is a powerful, somewhat brutal, study of the miseries imposed on poor middle-class girls by the French system of dowry; Le Résultat des courses (1898) shows the evil results of betting among the Parisian workmen; La Robe rouge (1900) was directed against the injustices of the law; Les Remplaçantes (1901) against the practice of putting children out to nurse. Les Avariés (1901), forbidden by the censor, on account of its medical details, was read privately by the author at the Théâtre Antoine; and Petite amie (1902) describes the life of a Parisian shop-girl. Later plays are La Couvée (1903, acted privately at Rouen in 1893), Maternité (1904), La Déserteuse (1904), in collaboration with M. Jean Sigaux, and Les Hannetons, a comedy in three acts (1906).