Marie Jeanne Riccoboni - Encyclopedia

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MARIE JEANNE RICCOBONI (1714-1792), whose maiden name was Laboras de Mezieres, was born at Paris in 1714. She married in 1735 Antoine Francois Riccoboni, a comedian and dramatist, from whom she soon separated. She herself was an actress, but did not succeed on the stage. Her works are Lettres de mistress Fanny Butler (1757); the remarkable Histoire du marquis de Cressy (1758); Milady Juliette Catesby (1 7591 7 6 o), like her other books, in letter form; Ernestine (1798), which La Harpe thought her masterpiece; and three series of Lettres in the names of Adelaide de Dammartin (comtesse de Sancerre) (2 vols., 1766), Elizabeth Sophie de Valliere (2 vols., 1772), and Milord Rivers (2 vols., 1776). She obtained a small pension from the crown, but the Revolution deprived her of it, and she died on the 6th of December 1792 in great indigence. Besides the works named, she wrote a novel (1762) on the subject of Fielding's Amelia, and supplied in 1765 a continuation (but not the conclusion sometimes erroneously ascribed to her) of Marivaux's unfinished Marianne. All Madame Riccoboni's work is clever, and there is real pathos in it. But it is among the most eminent examples of the "sensibility" novel, of which no examples but Sterne's have kept their place in England, and that not in virtue of their sensibility. A still nearer parallel may be found in the work of Mackenzie. Madame Riccoboni is an especial offender in the use of mechanical aids to impressiveness - italics, dashes, rows of points and the like. The principal edition of her complete works is that of Paris (6 vols., 1818). The chief novels appear in a volume of Garnier's Bibliotheque amusante (Paris, 1865).

See Julia Kavanagh, French Women of Letters (2 vols., 1862), where an account of her novels is given; J. Fleury, Marivaux et le marivaudage (Paris, 1881); J. M. Querard, La France litteraire (vol. vii., 1835); and notices by La. Harpe, Grimm and Diderot prefixed to her CEuvres (9 vols., Paris, 1826).

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