Childhood and adolescenceEugene Marin Labiche was born with Paris the May 6th 1815 in an easy middle-class family. His/her father, first of all wholesale grocer, became industrial, while going up, then while exploiting with Rueil, in the western suburbs of Paris, a small manufacturing plant of glucose.
Eugene makes studies of young man of good family: he follows the courses to the Lycée Condorcet, which is called then the college Bourbon, and he obtains easily his Baccalauréat of letters at 18 years, in 1833.
He does not start an higher learning immediately. On the one hand, the death of his/her mother this year got suitable incomes to him, and on the other hand it is attracted by the writing littéraire.
The following year, in 1834, his/her father authorizes it to go on a journey in Italy with some comrades. One among them, Alphonse Leveaux, will be a friend of a whole life and will count also later among his/her collaborators. He will adopt the pseudonym of Alphonse Jolly to avoid Labiche/Leveaux association.
The adulthoodWith the return of the voyage, which lasted more than 6 months, it starts studies of right which it will continue until the license, while making publish in small magazines of short news. It meets thus Auguste Lefranc and Marc-Michel, with which it will found an association in order to create plays! They take the collective pseudonym of Paul Dandré.
With their great surprise, their parts are accepted immediately and without the least problem. Labiche will entrust later: “ I am really ashamed simplicity of my beginning. I had only to draw the cord to enter . It is possible that the relationship of Auguste Lefranc with Eugene Scribe (they were cousins) helped the things much, without same as Labiche went compte.
from there Undoubtedly regarding the Comedy as a lower kind compared with the drama, they rather support this kind in their first productions. But mitigated successes of these spectacles, and undoubtedly also their merry and whimsical characters, will make them turn exclusively to the comedy and its sub-types: light comedy, joke, Pochade, Op3era Comique, Re-examined, and their hybrides.
Labiche also starts to produce apart from association " Paul Dandré " , but almost always with collaborators. On the 174 parts which it will sign, it will write of it to only 4 seul.
When Edmond Gondinet published in his turn its Complete Théâtre , it indicated for the part written in common with Labiche ( the happiest of the three ): collaborator Labiche , which seems to show that there was no hierarchy defined in this work partagés.
These associations were varied, so much by their duration (transitory, episodical or regular) that by the notoriety of the collaborators. Those could be is obscure literary men, whose name remained in the history only by this only mention of collaborator on first page of a part, the remainder, i.e. their life and their work, having completely disappeared from all the current data written, either of the prolific playwrights, such Anicet-Middle-class man, holder of 200 parts, or finally of the prestigious writers of the time, such Emile Augier or Ernest Legouvé, both pertaining to the French Academy more than 20 years before Labiche.
The work methods of Labiche were scoffed of course, even if these practices were common at the time. At the time of its candidature for the French Academy, somebody could not be prevented from slipping that Labiche did not aspire to an armchair of this worthy institution, but a bench to sit all his/her collaborators there!
Beginning in 1837, the production of Labiche was first of all modest, 2 or 3 parts on average per annum, sometimes none due to voyages abroad, makes of it the rate/rhythm of a young middle-class man dilettante, liking the theatrical writing, but for by not having truly the need to live. But, as from 1848, this production accelerates, since it made play on average nearly 10 parts per annum until 1859. Then the rate/rhythm slows down progressivement.
This decrease can be explained by the events lived by Labiche. It Marie on April 25th, 1842 with 18 year old wealthy heiress, Adele Hubert, it buys in 1853 the Château of Launoy to the Souvigny-in-Sologne, with 900 hectares of ground which it exploits itself, his/her only child has on March 12th, 1856, and finally is elected mayor of Souvigny in 1868. To this occasion, he will say modestly that he gained this election, because he was only commune to have and use a handkerchief!
He knows his apogee then. In 1864, its Comédie the Point of test card is presented in first to the Court to Compiegne before being played Paris with the Théâtre of the Gymnasium. Its Comedy - light comedy Grammar will be also played Compiegne. The imperial prince and his friends will play it in front of their parents.
Finally arrives 1877, date of its last part, the Key . Labiche had said before: “ I always thought that there was something of more difficult to make play than the first part… It is the last. Think of the old demonetized author…. ”
Old ageAfter the relative failure of this part, it made the decision not to write more, and it was held to with it. It had 62 ans.
then It remained to him to still live ten years, punctuated by many resumptions of its parts, unquestionable triumphal, and also by joys and mournings:
- election with the French Academy on February 28th, 1880, succeeding armchair 15 with Woodland Ustazade of Sacy, in spite of the indignation of Brunetière which deplored " the invasion of the inférieurs" kinds; , and the refusal of Victor Hugo to vote for him.
- marriage of his/her son in 1882 and birth of grandson in 1883 and 1884
- death of his/her daughter-in-law in 1885
Its funerals took place with the Cimetière of Montmartre. Ludovic Halévy pronounced its funeral in the name of the Société of the authors, and Main praise Edmond Rousse in the name of the French Academy.
The French Academy, Henri Meilhac succeeded to him the armchair 15.
His wife, Adele, will die in 1914.
Its work173 parts can appear considerable nowadays. However at the time it was a honourable production without more. Without the competition of the cinema and television, the theaters were strongly requested by a public wishing to distract itself, and consequently the theater directors were constantly petitioning new spectacles. Authors in vogue could make play more than 200 parts, like Anicet-Middle-class man, Bayard, Scribe or Clairville (more than 400 parts for each of the two last).
In spite of its successes, sometimes even of its triumphs, Labiche was never fully satisfied with its works. He was only one author of light comedy S, kind little considered of the men of letters. He even made play at the time of the still lower kinds, of the pochades, the jokes or the reviews written with the order, of “roustissures” as he said.
He wrote: “ This theater of the Palais Royal will have made me great difficulty: it will have confiscated with the profit of the joke the few elements of comedy which I then to have in the brain. ”
He aspired to something of superior, not the drama, which he had tested at his beginnings and which had not succeeded to him, not the high comedy ingeniously versified practiced by a Casimir Hello, but at least the Comedy of manners. He would have liked definitively to leave the world of the Théâtre of the Palais Royal and his large fun, to write only for the Théâtre of the Gymnasium to the kind more raised, or better still for the Comédie-Française.
After years of effort, it finishes in 1864 by making there accept a part Me , written with Edouard Martin, young man full with ambition. Success was mean, Labiche which has had to cut down its imagination, the part was considered to be rather tedious. It started again in 1876 with the assistance this time of an academician, Ernest Legouvé, for the Cicada in the Ants . Success was modest. It was the last attempt at Labiche to enter this world prestigieux.
In fact, Labiche not having come to the Comédie-Française, in fact the Comédie-Française, later, came in Labiche; but unfortunately well after its death. It will have been necessary to await several tens of years so that some of its parts are allowed with the Comédie-Française. It forms part of the traditional repertory now, and is among the 20 most played authors of this institution.
Among its most known parts, the Voyage of Mr Perrichon was registered with the repertory of the Comédie-Française only in 1906, a leghorn hat in 1938, an young man in a hurry in 1959, and the happiest of the three only in 1975.
What shows that Labiche is an great author, since it resists time so well!
If it is true that certain of the 174 (according to Gilbert Sigaux) parts of Théâtre of Labiche are only of unimportant jokes, it seems nevertheless a true satirical author, fine observant of the Bourgeoisie to which he belongs. This skimped world in which it exalte the any force of money returns to the financial context of the Second Empire.
Detail of theatrical Work
- the happiest of the three
- Cashmere X.B.T
Parts which one does not know the date of composition
- the Letter in charge
- the Love of art
- a blow of razor
Works on line
Available to the National library of France.
Text 1/Eugene Labiche; text established by Henry Gidel
- it Major Cravachon
- - Two dads very well or the grammar of Chicard
- it king of Frontins
- - an young man in a hurry
- it Champagne club
- - Let us embrace Folleville
- - a boy at Véry
- it well kept girl
- - a leghorn hat
- - Mom Sabouleux
- - a Mister who takes the fly
- them continuations of a first bed
- it Misanthrope and Auvergnat
- - Edgard and its good
- - My Isménie!
- it Chasse with the corbels
- them marchionesses of the fork
- beads it of Canebière
- - Two dads very well or the grammar of Chicard
Text 2/Eugene Labiche; text established by Henry Gidel
- - So never I grip you! …
- - a Mister who burned a lady
- - the business of the street Lourcine
- - Two white blackbirds
- it Baron de Fourchevif
- them Small hands
- - I invite the Colonel!
- it Sensitive
- them Two shy persons
- travels it of Mr. Perrichon
- - I compromised my wife
- them promptnesses of the captain Tic
- powders it with the eyes
- it station Champbaudet
- them Trentesept under Mr Montaudoin
- - Célimare the beloved
- - a Mister who burned a lady
Text 3/Eugene Labiche; text established by Henry Gidel
- it Kitty
- it not of test card
- - a foot in the crime
- it Grammar
- them railroads
- it choice of a son-in-law happier
- it of the three
- - does one Have to say it?
- - Twenty-nine degrees in the shade
- them thirty million Gladiator
- it price Martin
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