Jean Richepin - Encyclopedia


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JEAN RICHEPIN (1849-), French poet, novelist and dramatist, the son of an army doctor, was born at Medea (Algeria) on the 4th of February 1849. At school and at the Ecole normale he gave evidence of brilliant, if somewhat undisciplined, powers, for which he found physical vent in different directions-first as a franc-tireur in the Franco-German War, and afterwards as actor, sailor and stevedore-and an intellectual outlet in the writing of poems, plays and novels which vividly reflected his erratic but unmistakable talent. A play, L'Etoile, written by him in collaboration with Andre Gill (1840-1885), was produced in 1873; but Richepin was virtually unknown until the publication, in 1876, of a volume of verse entitled Chanson des gueux, when his outspokenness resulted in his being imprisoned and fined for outrage aux me urs. The same quality has characterized his succeeding volumes of verse: Les Caresses (1877), Les Blasphemes (1884), La Mer (1886), Mes paradis (1894), La Bombarde (1899). His novels have developed in style from the morbidity and brutality of Les Morts bizarres (1876), La Glu (1881) and Le Pave (1883) to the more thoughtful psychology of Madame Andre (1878), Sophie Monnier (1884), Cesarine (1888), L'Aime (1893), Grandes amoureuses (1896) and Lagibasse (1899), and the more simple portrayal of life in Miarka (1883), Les Braves Gens (1886), Truandailles (1890), La Miseloque (1892) and Flamboche (1895). His plays, though occasionally marred by his characteristic proneness to violence of thought and language, constitute in many respects his best work. The most notable are Nana Sahib (1883), Monsieur Scapin (1886), Le Filibustier (1888), Par le glaive (1892), Vers la joie (1894), Le Chemineau (1897), Le Chien de garde (1898), Les Truands (1899), Don Quichotte (1905), most of which were produced at the Comedic fran9aise. He also wrote Miarka (1905), adapted from his novel, for the music of Alexandre Georges, and Le Mage (1897) for the music of Jules Massenet.

His son, Jacques Richepin (b. 1880), the author of La Reine de Tyr (1899), La Cavaliere (1901), Cadet-Roussel (1903) and Falstaf f (1904), based on Shakespeare's Henry IV ., gave promise of making his mark as a dramatist.

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