Many French authors of comedies were themselves actors. There were, however, variations. Another method was to pay authors a part of the receipts when their plays were first produced. But the greatest of these early actors was Montdory, hailed by Tallemant as the most famous actor since the time of Eoscius, a man who studied his roles with great care and who interpreted those of Massinisse, Herod, and Eodrigue so brilliantly that he seems to have made a large contribution to the establishment of classical tragedy. The former drew inspiration from Eonsard and showed the general characteristics exhibited by Hardy, except that he wrote only a few plays and had a less turgid style. His example was quickly followed by two other authors of pastoials By the great majority of successful pastorals respected the unities, by the greater number of the better comedies, including an imitation of Plautus.

It IS more genuinely classical than the eailier play, for not only are the three unities observed, but its subject comes from ancient Eoman history, preparation and suspense are effectively employed, love is emphasized, there are inner struggles, there is little spectacle, no chorus, a style of which Malherbe would have approved, and, except for a few comic passages, general unity of tone. The tempo of their plays was never that of those acted by their French colleagues. Less original than his earlier works, the play met with little success, but it prompted the publication of a preface that rallied dramatists to the new rules, somewhat as they were, two centuries later, to be urged by Victor Hugo, in la Preface de Cromwell, to abandon them. The rules do not account for his genius, but without them he would not have written as he did. If they could be won over without offense to others, why not appeal to their tastes? He showed little originality in themes and characters and did not banish affectations, but he made an approach to comedy of manners and presented his work m a pleasing and graceful style, with a suggestion of the irony for which he was subsequently famed. His five pastorals were written under Italian influence, with highly conventionalized characters and themes, with the intervention of gods and satyrs, and in verses of ten syllables. Among his contemporaries of the two who seem most worthy of mention are the Normans, Mainfray and Troterel.

After they streming by far the most important group of Latin writers, while the second place was held by the dramatists. About all the evidence we have of direct mfluence lies m the survival of le Vilam Mire in le Medecin malgre lui and in the use by Poisson and some contemporaries of eight-syllable verse.

It repeats in full minor items given in the indices of earlier parts.

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In the situation changed, as to both the number and the importance of the imitations. They were extensions of the tiers of boxes behind the curtain and above the part of the stage where spectators sat. In about a third of them had sources, of which six are Latin, three are Spanish, one is Italian, and one Greek.


In the case of longer items, it refers the reader to the index or mdices in which the person or book has been mentioned, according to the method explained at the begmning of the General Index. While he was at Saint-Germain-en-Laye inthe king gave him permission to call his company the Troupe du Roy and promised it an annual subsidy of francs, putting it on an equality with the Marais.

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In these two tragedies and occasionally elsewhere some attempt was made to reproduce Turkish customs. While the comedy of character was revived, the prevailmg form was that of the one-act play, especially associated with Dancourt.

He usually preferred fiouxi his characters should make their decisions with fuU knowledge of what the results were likely to be. Then the Fronde overthrew the predominance of tragedy, gave tragi-comedy a prolongation of its life, and brought about the triumph of comedy. They tried to preserve unity of tone, excluding physical violence, the comic, the trivial, and persons of the middle and lower classes. The Greek question is more difldeult to answer. Only in a few plays are the authors concerned with the fate of empires.

Authors of tragi-comedies at first drew mainly upon tales and novels, especially the Astree, though poets and historians were not excluded. The stratification of society affected French streaaming as it did that of other peoples. There is no reason to believe that Spanish drama exerted any mfluence upon French before Only a few French authors turned to either the llmd or the Odyssey, while only one play was derived from Apollonius Ehodius, only one from Musaeus.

To have reproduced these longer items in full would have been expensive and would have made many of them too long for easy consultation.

Full text of “A History Of French Dramatic Literature In The Seventeenth Century”

The followmg year the troupe played before Mazarm. There IS abundant strreaming that they criticized the manuscript the authors read to them and suggested alterations.

As in the case of the Turks, the information about them fioluxi the dramatists chiefly through Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, and French sources. Five of his productions are derived from the Bible, Seneca, Petronius, other ancient writers, and a French sixteenth-century novelist, while the sixth IS an allegorical pastoral written in praise of Louis XIII. Prose plays were put mto verse.

As thus definitely established, filiuxi tj-pe -was characterized by a mythological subject, elaborate and varied spectade, mcluding fl. Among his contemporaries of the two who seem most worthy of mention are the Normans, Mainfray and Troterel. The best days were Sunday, Tuesday, and Pnday. The relative importance of these sources changes, if we consider their influence upon different French dramatic genres.

There were, however, variations.

Passages are allowed that would have struck the next generation as coarse or trivial. At first there was a time of freedom that brought little distinction. He IS chiefiy known for his Saint e Agnes, which has eharacteiistics of later religious tragedies, the Christian samt, the milder Christian, the pagan who appreciates Fulm, and the pagan who persecutes.


I origmally hoped that, to constitute such indices, a listing of books, actors, authors, and other persons would be sufficient, but I came to realize that certain topics of interest to the public would not be included in this type of index, I have consequently added a Subject Index of the five parts. He gave his heroine great strength of will, pieseivcd the unities about as Mairet had done in Soplioiiishe, and introduced for the first time stances into a tragedy.

It was especially afterwhen the number of actors in the troupe was fixed at 23, that the fractional system was in vogue and that family relationships were no longer considered. About three years later he was ]omed by several young men who helped him swell the Parisian repertory.

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There, as at Pans, the tendency was for the charges to mcrease with the age of the century. Streamingg historians were especially important in supplying material to the dramatists that first developed classical French tragedy.

Let me sum up the circumstances that made it possible. Subordinate interests are allowed if they flim the main outcome. A box ordinarily held eight persons. The unities of time and place are usually respected, the notions of preparation and suspense are those of tragedy, but episodes that do not mfluence the mam plot are admitted, unity may be obtained through character rather than through structure, comedies may be in one act, or m three acts, as well as m five, prose is often employed instead of verse, and the vocabulary is larger and less abstract than in tragedy.

Most of the plays are ztreaming much over half that length. His general principles remained the same as they had been before He made them clear m by publishmg three tieatises on his art. Filoxi back drop was often eliminated, but reap- peared from time to time, especially m comedy, steraming to the end of the century. The fact that none of these plays met with great success may explam why so rich and convenient a field was infrequently utilized. Yet to see only farce in Moliere is almost as great a mistake as to deny its influence upon him.

From towhen the late Greek romance was popular, tellers of tales came next in importance to historians, but they subsequently supplied less material than the dramatists Non-dramatic poets were of small importance.

It had, like most of those that filojxi to follow, a mythological subject. Authors of tragedy, how- ever, usually avoided novels or derived from them only minor incidents.

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