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Pierre Corneille

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Pierre Corneille (June 6, 1606October 1, 1684) was one of the three great dramatists produced by France during the 17th century, along with Molière and Racine.

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Corneille.jpg
Corneille

Corneille was born at Rouen, and studied law. He then practiced law for 21 years, meanwhile writing 20 plays.

He moved to Paris in 1629 and soon became one of the leading playwrights of the French stage. His early comedies, starting with Mélite, depart from the French farce tradition by reflecting the elevated language and manners of fashionable Parisian society. His first true tragedy is Medée, produced in 1635. It was followed by his tragicomic masterpiece, Le Cid, in 1636. An enormous popular success, Corneille's Le Cid was the subject of a heated polemic over the norms of dramatic practice known as the Querelle du Cid. Cardinal Richelieu's Académie Française acknowledged the play's success, but determined that it was defective, in part because it did not respect the classical unities. After a hiatus from the theater, Corneille returned in 1640. His most successful and famous plays date from this period and include the tragedies Horace, Cinna, Polyeucte and the comedy Le Menteur.

Corneille was more versatile than Molière and Racine, but is often (though perhaps unfairly) considered less brilliant than either. He tended to concentrate on classical themes (and was sometimes "copied" by Racine to the latter's advantage), though he did not always respect the classical unities. (Unity of Time stipulated that all the action in a play must take place within a twenty-four hour time-frame; Unity of Place, that there must be only one setting for the action; and Unity of Action, that the plot must be centred around a single conflict or problem.) He did, however, enjoy a brief collaboration with Molière. Between 1653 and 1659, he retired from the theatre altogether, to work on translation. Between 1640 and 1662, he lived mostly at Rouen, but thereafter in Paris.

He died in 1684, having produced his last play ten years earlier.

Works

Template:Wikisource author


Preceded by:
François Maynard
Seat 14
Académie française
Succeeded by:
Thomas Corneille
cs:Pierre Corneille

cy:Pierre Corneille de:Pierre Corneille et:Pierre Corneille es:Pierre Corneille eo:Pierre CORNEILLE fr:Pierre Corneille it:Pierre Corneille pl:Pierre Corneille

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