SCRIBE, AUGUSTIN EUGENE French dramatist, was born in Paris on Dec. 24, 1791. His first piece, Le Pretendu sans le savoir, was produced without his name at the Varietes in 181o, and was a failure. Numerous other plays, written in collaboration with various authors, followed; but Scribe achieved no distinct success till 1815, when Une Nuit de la garde rationale, written in collaboration with Delestre-Poirson, made him famous. Thenceforward his fertility was unceasing and its results prodigious. He wrote every kind of drama— vaudevilles, comedies, tragedies, opera-libretti. To the Gymnase theatre alone he is said to have furnished a hundred and fifty pieces before 183o. This extraordinary fecundity is explained by the systematic methods of collaboration which he established. He had a number of co-workers, one of whom supplied the story, another the dialogue, a third the jokes and so on. He is said in some cases to have sent sums of money for "copyright in ideas" to men who were unaware that he had taken suggestions from their work. Among his collaborators were Jean Henri Dupin (1787-1887), Germain Delavigne, Delestre-Poirson, Meles vine' (A. H. J. Duveyrier), Marc-Antoine Desaugiers, Xavier
Saintine and Gabriel Legouve. His debut in serious comedy was made at the Theatre Francais in 1822 with Valerie, the first of many successful pieces of the same kind. His industry was untiring and his knowledge both of the mechanism of the stage and of the tastes of the audience was wonderful. He was for fifty years the best exponent of the ideas of the French middle classes. The best-known of Scribe's pieces of ter his first suc cessful one are Une Chorine (1842) ; Le Verne d'eau (1842) ; Adrienne Lecouvreur in conjunction with Legouve; Bertrand et Raton, ou l'art de conspirer; and the libretti of many of the most famous operas of the middle of the century, especially those of Auber and Meyerbeer. The books of La Muette de Portici, Fra Diavolo, Robert le Diable, and of Les Huguenots are wholly or in part by him. Scribe died in Paris on Feb. 20, 1861.
His Oeuvres completes appeared in seventy-six volumes in 1874-85. See Legouve, Eugene Scribe (1874) ; and N. C. Arvin, E. Scribe and the French Theatre, 1815-6o (Cambridge, Mass., 1924).