Jules Lemaître

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Jules Lemaître, pictured towards the end of his life.

François Élie Jules Lemaître (27 April 1853 – 4 August 1914) was a French critic and dramatist.


Lemaître was born in Vennecy, Loiret. He became a professor at the University of Grenoble in 1883, but was already well known for his literary criticism, and in 1884 he resigned his position to devote his time to literature. He succeeded Jean-Jacques Weiss as drama critic of the Journal des Débats, and subsequently filled the same office on the Revue des Deux Mondes. His literary studies were collected under the title of Les Contemporains (7 series, 1886-1899), and his dramatic feuilletons as impressions de théàtre (10 series, 1888-1898). [1]

His sketches of modern authors show great insight and unexpected judgment as well as gaiety and originality of expression. He published two volumes of poetry: Les Médaillons (1880) and Petites orientales (1883); also some volumes of contes, among them En marge des vieux livres (1905). His plays are:

  • Révoltée (1889)
  • Le député Leveau, and Le Mariage blanc (1891)
  • Les Rois (1893)
  • Le Pardon and L'Age difficile (1895)
  • La Massière (1905)
  • Bertnade (1906)[1]

He was admitted to the French Academy on 16 January 1896. His political views were defined in La Campagne nationaliste (1902), lectures delivered in the provinces by him and by Godefroy Cavaignac. He conducted a nationalist campaign in the Écho de Paris, and was for some time president of the Ligue de la Patrie Française, but resigned in 1904, and dedicated the rest of his life to writing.[1] He died in Tavers, aged 61.



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