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Crabillon

crebillon, stage, author and passed

CRABILL'ON, Prosper Joylot de, French dramatist: b. Dijon, France, 15 Feb. 1674; d. Paris, 17 June 1762. His first piece, 'La Mort des Enfants de Brute,' was rejected by the players. His was brought upon the stage in 1705. The faults of the play were overlooked in consideration of the youth of the author and the promising talent which it dis played, and his talents after the appearance of his (Atree,' in 1707, were loudly applauded. A taste for unnatural declamation had been ex cited by Corneille's tragedy, passed through two editions, and Paris and Versailles vied with each other in admiring it. Crebillon had been told that his talent lay in the terrible, and thought, therefore, that he could not exert hUn self too much in scenes of horror. (1714) exceeded in this respect all that he had before written, but soon disappeared from the stage. (1717) was severely cen sured, but 'Pyrrhus' appeared in 1726 and met with a good reception, contrary to the expecta tion of the author, who, in this work, had ab stained from the frightful and the shocking.

When Madame de Pompadour wished to humble Voltaire, Crebillon was thought of as a fit instrument for her purpose. The king gave him the office of censor of the police, a yearly pension of 1,000 francs, and an appointment in the library. Thus freed from pecuniary anxiety, he finished his 'Catiline,> which was eine sented in 1749 with all the pomp that the court theatre could display. To make some atone ment to the character of Cicero, thought to have been wronged in his he wrote at 76 the 'Triumvirate, or the Death of Cicero,' which was brought upon the stage in his 81st year. The defects of this piece were over from respect to the age of the author. In general Crebillon shows none of the true elevation of the tragic art, but only an imita tion, sometimes a happy one, of the manner struck out by Corneille. He was a man of a proud and independent character, disdained to flatter the great, and passed much of his life in a condition bordering on poverty. In 1731 he became a member of the Academy. His works were edited best by Didot (1812). There is a Life by the Abbe de la Porte, and a fine essay by Brunetiere in (Epoques de theatre francais.' Consult Dutrait, 'Etude sur Crebil lon' (1895) ; Amaton, C. H., 'Particularites sur les deux Crebillon' (1835).