Charles De Bernard - Encyclopedia


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CHARLES DE BERNARD, whose full name was Pierre Marie Charles De Bernard Du Grail De La Villette (1804-1850), French writer, was born at Besancon on the 25th of February 1804. After studying for the law, and then taking to journalism, he was encouraged by Balzac (whose Peau de chagrin he had reviewed) to settle in Paris and devote himself to authorship; and the result was a series of volumes of fiction, remarkable for their picture of provincial society and the Parisian bourgeoisie. The best of these are Le Nceud gordien (1838), containing among other short stories Une Aventure de magistrat, from which Sardou drew his comedy of the Pommes du voisin; Gerfaut (1838), considered his masterpiece; Les Ailes d'Icare (1840), La Peau du lion (1841) and Le Gentilhomme campagnard (1847).

His Ouvres completes (12 vols.), which appeared after his death on the 6th of March 1850, include also his poetry and two comedies written in collaboration with "Leonce" (C. H. L. Laurencot, 1805-1862). A flattering appreciation by Armand de Pontmartin is prefixed to Un Beau-pere in this collection. In W. M. Thackeray's Paris Sketch-book (" On some fashionable French novels") there is an admirable criticism of Bernard. See also an essay by Henry James in French Poets and Novelists (1884).

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