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Encyclopedia > Pierre Corneille
Pierre Corneille.

Pierre Corneille (June 6, 1606October 1, 1684) was a French tragedian who was one of the three great 17th Century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called “the founder of French tragedy” and produced plays for nearly 40 years. Image File history File links 1881 Young Folks Cyclopedia of Persons and Places File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links 1881 Young Folks Cyclopedia of Persons and Places File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... is the 157th day of the year (158th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 27 - The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins ending in their execution on January 31 May 17 - Supporters of Vasili Shusky invade the Kremlin and kill Premier Dmitri December 26 - Shakespeares King Lear performed in court Storm buries a village of St Ismails near... is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events France under Louis XIV makes Truce of Ratisbon separately with the Empire and Spain. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... A dramatist is an author of dramatic compositions, usually plays. ... For the 2007 film, see Molière (film). ... Jean Racine, in an engraving by Pierre Savart. ...

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Contents

Biography

Early life and plays

Corneille was born at Rouen, France, to Marthe le Pesant and Pierre Corneille (a minor administrative official). He was given a rigorous Jesuit education and at 18 began to study law. His practical legal endeavors were largely unsuccessful. Corneille’s father secured two magisterial posts for him with the Rouen department of Forests and Rivers. During his time with the department he wrote his first play. It is unknown exactly when he wrote it, but the play, the comedy Mélite, surfaced when Corneille brought it to a group of traveling actors in 1629. The actors approved of the work and made it part of their repertoire. The play was a success in Paris and Corneille began writing plays on a regular basis. He moved to Paris in the same year 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. Corneille describes his variety of comedy as "une peinture de la conversation des honnêtes gens" ("a painting of the conversation of the gentry"). His first true tragedy is Médée, produced in 1635. Rouen (pronounced in French, sometimes also ) is the historical capital city of Normandy, in northwestern France on the River Seine, and currently the capital of the Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy) région. ... The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Rouen (pronounced in French, sometimes also ) is the historical capital city of Normandy, in northwestern France on the River Seine, and currently the capital of the Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy) région. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... For other uses, see Parisian (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... Médée (in Italian: Medea) is an opera by Luigi Cherubini. ...


Les Cinq Auteurs

The year 1634 brought more attention to Corneille. He was selected to write verses for the Cardinal Richelieu's visit to Rouen. The Cardinal took notice of Corneille and selected him to be among Les Cinq Auteurs ('The Five Poets'; also translated as 'the society of the five authors'). Also included in this collective were Guillaume Colletet, Boisrobert, Jean Rotrou, and Claude de Lestoile. Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (September 9, 1585 – December 4, 1642), was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman. ... François le Métel de Boisrobert (1592 - March 30, 1662), was a French poet. ... Jean Rotrou (August 19 or 20, 1609 - June, 1650) was a French poet and tragedian. ...


The five were selected to realize Richelieu's vision of a new kind of drama that emphasized virtue. Richelieu would present ideas, which the writers would express in dramatic form. However, the Cardinal's demands were too restrictive for Corneille, who attempted to innovate outside the boundaries defined by Richelieu. This led to contention between playwright and employer. After his initial contract ended, Corneille left Les Cinq Auteurs and returned to Rouen.


Querelle du Cid

In the years directly following this break with Richelieu, Corneille produced what is considered his finest play. Le Cid ('al sayyid' in Arabic; roughly translated as 'The Lord'), is based on the play Mocedades del Cid (1621) by Guillem de Castro. Both plays were based on the legend of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (nicknamed El Cid Campeador), a military figure in Medieval Spain. Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Guillén de Castro y Bellvis (1569 - July 28, 1631), was a Spanish dramatist. ... Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. ... History of Spain Series Prehistoric Spain Roman Spain Medieval Spain Age of Reconquest Age of Expansion Age of Enlightenment Reaction and Revolution First Spanish Republic The Restoration Second Spanish Republic Spanish Civil War The Dictatorship Modern Spain Topics Economic History Military History Social History Rodrigo (or Ruy) Díaz de...


The original 1637 edition of the play was subtitled a tragicomedy, acknowledging that it intentionally defies the classical tragedy/comedy distinction. Even though Le Cid was an enormous popular success, it was the subject of a heated polemic over the norms of dramatic practice, known as the 'Querelle du Cid' or 'The Quarrel of Le 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 of time, place, and action (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). The newly-formed Académie was a body that asserted state control over cultural activity. Although it usually dealt with efforts to standardize the French language, Richelieu himself ordered an analysis of Le Cid. Tragicomedy refers to fictional works that blend aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... The Académie française In the French educational system an académie LAcadémie française, or the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. ... The three unities or classical unities are rules for drama derived from a mistaken interpretation of a particular passage in Aristotles Poetics. ... French (français, langue française) is one of the most important Romance languages, outnumbered in speakers only by Spanish and Portuguese. ...


Accusations of immorality were leveled at the play in the form of a famous pamphlet campaign. These attacks were founded on the classical theory that the theatre was a site of moral instruction. The Académie's recommendations concerning the play are articulated in Jean Chapelain's Sentiments de l'Académie française sur la tragi-comédie du Cid (1638). Even the prominent writer Georges de Scudéry harshly criticized the play in his Observations sur le Cid (1637). Jean Chapelain (December 4, 1595 - February 22, 1674) was a French poet and writer. ... Georges de Scudéry (August 22, 1601 - May 14, 1667), the elder bother of Madeleine de Scudéry, was a French novelist, dramatist and poet. ...


The controversy grew too much for Corneille, who decided to return to Rouen. When one of his plays was reviewed unfavorably, Corneille was known to withdraw from public life.


Response to the Querelle du Cid

After a hiatus from the theater, Corneille returned in 1640. The Querelle du Cid caused Corneille to pay closer attention to classical dramatic rules. This was evident in his next plays, which were classical tragedies: Horace (1640, dedicated to Richelieu), Cinna (1643), and Polyeucte (1643). These three plays and Le Cid are collectively known as Corneille's 'Classical Tetralogy'. Corneille also responded to the criticisms of the Académie by making multiple revisions to Le Cid to make it closer to the conventions of classical tragedy. The 1648, 1660, and 1682 editions were no longer subtitled ‘tragicomedy’, but ‘tragedy’. Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (7th century BC), and continues through the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD... Tragedy is one of the oldest forms of drama. ... In Roman mythology, the Horatii were a set of male triplets from Rome. ... Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (September 9, 1585 – December 4, 1642), was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman. ... Cinna was a Roman patrician family of the gens Cornelia. ... Polyeucte is a drama in five acts by French writer Pierre Corneille. ... Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (7th century BC), and continues through the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... Tragicomedy refers to fictional works that blend aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ...

Adrienne Lecouvreur, as Cornelia in "The Death of Pompey"
Adrienne Lecouvreur, as Cornelia in "The Death of Pompey"

Corneille’s popularity grew and by the mid 1640’s, the first collection of his plays was published. Corneille married Marie de Lampérière in 1641. They had seven children together. In the mid to late 1640’s, Corneille produced mostly tragedies: La Mort de Pompée (The Death of Pompey, performed 1644), Rodogune (performed 1645), Theodore (performed 1646), and Héraclius (performed 1647). He also wrote one comedy in this period: Le Menteur (The Liar, 1644). Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Adrienne Lecouvreur (April 5, 1692 – March 20, 1730) was a French actress. ... Theodore may refer to: // Pre-Christian: Theodorus of Cyrene, mathematician from Greek antiquity Theodorus of Samos, 6th century BC Greek sculptor Theodorus of Byzantium, 5th century BC Greek orator and sophist Theodorus of Gadara, 1st century BC Roman rhetorician Saints: Theodore, saint, bishop of Zaragoza (Spain) in ca. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Le Menteur (The Liar) is a play by Pierre Corneille that was first performed in 1644. ... The Liar (1992) was the first novel by Stephen Fry, recording the life of Adrian Healey, a student at Cambridge University. ...


In 1652, the play Pertharite met with poor critical reviews and a disheartened Corneille decided to quit the theatre. He began to focus on an influential verse translation of the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, which he completed in 1656. After an absence of nearly eight years, Corneille was persuaded to return to the stage in 1659. He wrote the play Oedipe, which was favored by Louis XIV. In the next year, Corneille published Trois discours sur le poème dramatique (Three Discourses on Dramatic Poetry), which were, in part, defenses of his style. These writings can be seen as Corneille’s response to the Querelle du Cid. He simultaneously maintained the importance of classical dramatic rules and justified his own transgressions of those rules in Le Cid. Corneille argued the Aristotelian dramatic guidelines were not meant to be the subject to a strict literal reading. Instead, he suggested that they were open to interpretation. Although the relevance of classical rules was maintained, Corneille suggested that the rules should not be so tyrannical that they stifle innovation. The Imitation of Christ (or De imitatione Christi), by Thomas à Kempis is one of the most widely read Christian spiritual books in existence. ... Thomas à Kempis (1380 - 1471) was a medieval Christian monk and author of Imitation of Christ, one of the most well-known Christian books on devotion. ... Oedipus and the Sphinx, from an 1879 illustration from Stories from the Greek Tragedians by Alfred Church Oedipus (Greek , Oidipous, swollen-foot; rarely ; Latin Oedipus) or Å’dipus was the mythical king of Thebes, son of Laius and Jocasta, who, unknowingly, killed his father and married his mother. ... Louis XIV redirects here. ... Panoramic view of the Greek theater at Epidaurus Greek theatre or Greek Drama is a theatrical tradition that flourished in ancient Greece between c. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


Later plays

Even though Corneille was prolific after his return to the stage, writing one play a year for the 14 years after 1659, his plays did not have the same success as those of his earlier career. Other writers were beginning to gain popularity. In 1670 Corneille and Jean Racine, one of his dramatic rivals, were challenged to write plays on the same incident. Each playwright was unaware that the challenge had also been issued to the other. When both plays were completed, it was generally acknowledged that Corneille’s Tite et Bérénice (1671) was inferior to Racine’s play (Bérénice). Molière was also prominent at the time and Corneille even composed the comedy Psyché (1671) in collaboration with him (and Philippe Quinault). Most of the plays that Corneille wrote after his return to the stage were tragedies. They included La Toison d'or (The Golden Fleece, 1660), Sertorius (1662), Othon (1664), Agésilas (1666), and Attila (1667). Jean Racine, in an engraving by Pierre Savart. ... Tite et Bérénice is a tragedy by the 17th-century French playwright Pierre Corneille. ... Jean Racine, in an engraving by Pierre Savart. ... Bérénice is a tragedy by the French 17th-century playwright Jean Racine. ... For the 2007 film, see Molière (film). ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Psyché is an opera with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully and a libretto by Thomas Corneille first performed in 1678. ... Philippe Quinault (June 3, 1635 - November 26, 1688), French dramatist and librettist, was born in Paris on the 3rd of June 1635. ... Tragedy is one of the oldest forms of drama. ... Quintus Sertorius (died 72 BC), Roman statesman and general. ... For other uses, see Attila (disambiguation). ...


Corneille’s final play was the tragedy Suréna (1674). After this, he retired from the stage for the final time and died at his home in Paris in 1684. Buried in the church of St. Roch, his grave went without a monument until 1821. This article is about the capital of France. ... in Arctic ice The St. ...


Quotes

From Corneille's plays

  • "When we conquer without danger our triumph is without glory." – Le Cid
  • "And the combat ceased, for want of combatants." - Le Cid
  • "My sweetest hope is to lose all hope." - Le Cid
  • "All evils are equal when they are extreme." - Horace
  • "We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends." – Cinna
  • "By speaking of our misfortunes we often relieve them." - Polyeucte

Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. ... Cinna was a Roman patrician family of the gens Cornelia. ... Polyeucte is a drama in five acts by French writer Pierre Corneille. ...

About Corneille

  • “Le Cid marks the birth of a man, the rebirth of poetry, the dawn of a great century.” – Sainte-Beuve (transl.)

E-Text

Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ...

Further reading

External links

  • Monologues from Corneille's plays
  • Biographical information
  • Biography, Bibliography, Analysis, Plot overview (in French)
  • Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ (modern translation)

Books

  • Guizot, M. Corneille and His Times. London: Kennikat Press, 1972.
  • Nelson, Robert J. Corneille: His Heroes and Their Worlds. Philadelphia: University Pennsylvania Press, 1963.
  • Yarrow, P.J. Corneille. London: Macmillan & Co., 1963.

Works

  • Mélite (1629)
  • Clitandre (1630–31)
  • la Veuve (1631)
  • la Galerie du Palais (1631–32)
  • la Place royale (1633–34)
  • l'Illusion comique (1636)
  • Médée (1635)
  • le Cid (1637)
  • Horace (1640)
  • Cinna (1641)
  • Polyeucte (1642)
  • la Mort de Pompée (1643)
  • Le Menteur (1643)
  • Rodogune (1644)
  • Héraclius (1647)
  • Don Sanche d'Aragon (1650)
  • Andromède, (1650)
  • Nicomède, (1651)
  • Pertharite, (1651)
  • l'Imitation de Jésus-Christ (1656)
  • Oedipe (1659)
  • Trois Discours sur le poème dramatique (1660)
  • La Toison d'or (1660)
  • Sertorius (1662)
  • Othon (1664)
  • Agésilas (1666)
  • Attila (1667)
  • Tite et Bérénice (1670)
  • Psyché (w/ Molière and Philippe Quinault,1671)
  • Suréna (1674)
Wikisource
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Pierre Corneille
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Pierre Corneille
Preceded by
François Maynard
Seat 14
Académie française

1647–1684
Succeeded by
Thomas Corneille

  Results from FactBites:
 
PIERRE CORNEILLE - LoveToKnow Article on PIERRE CORNEILLE (6282 words)
Pierre, the eldest son, a cavalry officer who died before his father, left posterity in whom the name has continued; Marie, the eldest daughter, was twice married, and by her second husband, M. de Farcy, became the ancestress of Charlotte Corday.
Corneille, unlike many of the great writers of the world, was not driven to wait for the next age to do him justice.
That Corneille was by no means destitute of the critical faculty his Discourses and the Examens of his plays (often admirably acute, and, with Drydens subsequent prefaces, the originals to a great extent of specially modern criticism) show well enough.
Pierre Corneille (771 words)
IERRE Corneille's first works were comedies, and none too good; but when, at the age of thirty-one, he produced the Cid, there was erected an important landmark in the history of drama.
Corneille, conscious of the classic bent of French taste, adhered pretty closely to the so-called Aristotelian rules, yet contrived to produce a tragedy which, in depth of passion, poetic fervor and vigor, far surpassed anything that had so far been seen on the Parisian stage.
Racine displaced that of Corneille, whose decline was as rapid as his rise.
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