Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pierre Corneille (1606-1684)

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It is a crime against the State to be powerful enough to commit one.


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One of the three great dramatists produced by France during the seventeenth century, along with Moliere and Racine. Corneille was born in 1606 at Rouen, and studied law. He moved to Paris in 1629, with the beginnings of a literary career, and soon became successful as a writer of sparkling comedies and plays written to order on behalf of Cardinal Richelieu. He only began to realise his true potential with the tragedy, Medee, in 1635, following it up with his masterpiece, Le Cid, in 1636. Corneille was more versatile than Moliere and Racine, but often considered less brilliant than either. He tended to concentrate on classical themes, and was sometimes "copied" by Racine, to the latter's advantage. He did, however, enjoy a brief collaboration with Moliere. 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. [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Pierre Corneille.]

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