Sophie Gay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Marie Françoise Sophie Gay (born Nichault de la Valette in Paris, (1776-07-01)1 July 1776 – 2 March 1852(1852-03-02) was a French author, born in Paris.

Sophie Gay
Marie Françoise Sophie Nichault de la Valette-02.jpg
Born (1776-07-01)1 July 1776
Died 2 March 1852(1852-03-02) (aged 75)
Spouse(s) Jean-Baptiste Isabey


Gay was the child on the father's side of Auguste Antoine Nichault de La Vallette, an entrepreneur who worked for Louis XVIII of France. On her mother's side, she was born of Francesca Peretti, an Italian woman.

She was married in 1794 to Gaspard Liottier (or Gaspar Liottier). She divorced in 1799, to marry another, Jean Sigismond Gay (1768–1822), the mayor of Lupigny, originally from Aix-les-Bains and with a close association to the French treasury, under the French First Empire. He was the contrôleur-général for the Ruhr.

This marriage, some may say a marriage of convenience, allowed both Sophie and her husband to mix in high society. They spent most of their lives around those of the upper class in Aix-la-Chapelle, with those who were trying to establish the town of Spa, Belgium, and particularly with Pauline Bonaparte, Her French: salon, women of the chattering classes, was often supplemented by artists, musicians, writers and drawers, and painters, who loved her for her wit, beauty, and largesse.

She published her first written work in 1802, defending the art of the novel. Delphine by Germaine de Staël, wrote an open letter to the Journal de Paris which is still on record.

The same year, her first novel, her first published work, Laure d’Estell, was anonymously published, on the advice of her publisher Sir Stanislas de Boufflers and Joseph-Alexandre Pierre de Ségur, Viscount of Ségur.

Ten years later, she published Léonie de Montbreuse, which was critically acclaimed by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve as her best novel, but Anatole of 1815, a story of lost romance, may be the most famous of her works.

After her first successful novel and several others, acclaimed for their style and sweet sincerity, she wrote many others such as Salons célèbres in 1837, which was critically acclaimed.

Gay also worked in the theatre, she was the writer of several theatrical comedies and libretti for opera.


Sophie Gay was the mother of the writer Delphine de Girardin, and her son-in-law married the chanteuse Sophie Gail.

In 1818 she wrote the libretto for the opéra comique French: la Sérénade' by Regnard, which Sophie Gail set to music. In 1821, she was working on French: Chanoine de Milan by Alexandre Duval, and a comic opera entitled le Maitre de Chapelle ("Master of the House", not to be confused with Master of the House from Les Misérables (musical)).

Meantime she was also writing many others comedies and dramas. The comedy French: 'la Veuve du tanneur' ("The widow of the tanner"), was a huge success at the Castellane, but the Duchesse de Châteauroux bombed at the Théâtre de l'Odéon.

She also wrote several "novel novels", French: Nouvelles nouvelles, as penny dreadfuls, for La Presse. As an acclamined musician, she also published numerous romantic songs, accompanied on the piano, for which she wrote both the words and music: Maris is perhaps a best example, although she would also write in the elegiac style.

After being widowed, between 1826 and 1827 she took a grand tour to Italy with son.

In the later years of her life, she lived at Versailles during the "season". One of her daughters became the Countess O'Donnell, the other, was more famously known by the name of Delphine de Girardin, the wife of Émile de Girardin.

In her first marriage, she had another sister, who the Countess of Canclaux.

Some say She also had another brother, who died in the Siege of Constantine of 1830, but others say he survived, continued his education in England, and then returned to France.


  • Laure d’Estell, par Mme *** ; Paris, 1802, 3 vol. in-12 ;
  • Léonie de Montbreuse, Paris, 1813 et 1823, 2 vol. in-12 ; La seconde édition n’est pas anonyme.
  • Anatole, Paris, 1815 et 1822, 2 vol. in-12 ;
  • Les Malheurs d’un Amant heureux, ouvrage traduit de l’anglais, par M***, auteur de plusieurs ouvrages connus ; Paris, 1818 ; reproduit sous le titre : les Malheurs d’un Amant heureux, ou mémoires d’un aide-de-camp de Napoléon écrits par son valet de chambre, Paris, 1823, 3 vol. in-8° ;
  • Le Marquis de Pomenars, comédie en un acte et en prose, Paris, Ladvocat, 1820, in-8° ;
  • Une Aventure du chevalier de Grammont, comédie en trois actes et en vers, Paris, 1822, in-8° ;
  • Marie, ou la pauvre fille, drame en trois actes et en prose, Paris, 1824, in-8° ;
  • Théobald, épisode de la guerre de Russie, Paris, 1828, 4 vol. in-12 ;
  • Le Moqueur amoureux, Paris , 1830, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Un Mariage sous l’empire, Paris, 1832, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Scènes du jeune âge, Paris, 1833, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • la Physiologie du Ridicule, Paris, 1833, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Souvenirs d’une vieille femme, Paris, Michel Lévy frères, 1834, in-8°: extrait des Mémoires de l’auteur ;
  • La Duchesse de. Châteauroux, Paris, 1834 et 1839, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Le Chevalier de Canolle, opéra comique en trois actes, music by Hippolyte-Honoré-Joseph Court de Fontmichel; Paris, 1836, in-8° ;
  • la Comtesse d’Egmont, Paris, 1836, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Les Salons célèbres, Paris, Dumont, 1837, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Marie de Mancini, Paris, 1840, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Marie-Louise d’Orléans, Paris, 1842, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • la Duchesse de Chateauroux, drame en quatre actes, joué sur le second Théâtre-Français, le 25 ; Paris, 1844, grand in-8° ;
  • Ellénore, Paris, 1844-1846, 4 vol. in-8° ;
  • Le joui Frère, Paris, 1845, 3 vol. in 8" ;
  • Le Comte de Guiche, Paris, 1845, 3 vol. in-8° ;
  • Le Mari confident, Paris, 1849, 2 vol. in-8° ;
  • Société du Travail à domicile, discours suivi d’une pétition en vers en faveur de cette œuvre, Versailles, 1849, in-8°.
  • Œuvres complètes de Sophie Gay, Paris, M. Lévy, 1864-1885

See also[edit]


  • Paul Lafond, L’Aube romantique : Jules de Rességuier et ses amis, Chateaubriand - Émile Deschamps - Sophie Gay - Madame de Girardin - Victor Hugo - Lamartine - H.T. de Latouche - Sainte-Beuve - A. Soumet - Eugène Sue - Alfred de Vigny et autres, Paris, Mercure de France, 1910
  • Henri Malo, Une muse et sa mère : Delphine Gay de Girardin, Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1924
  • Jules Manecy, Une famille de Savoie : celle de Delphine Gay, Aix-les-Bains, E. Gérente, 1904
  • Jules Marsan, La Muse française, 1823-1824, Paris, É. Cornély et Cie, 1907-1909


  • Ferdinand Hoefer, Nouvelle Biographie générale, t. 19, Paris, Firmin-Didot, 1857, pp. 751–3.
  • 7 S : Fonds Gay, archives municipales d'Aix-les-Bains, Savoie


For an account of her daughter, Delphine Gay, her mother's work of 1834, Souvenirs d'une vieille femme ("memoirs from an old woman. See also Théophile Gautier's Portraits contemporains and Sainte-Beuve's, Causeries du lundi (Monday's chats, essentially).

Her niece was the writer Hortense Allart.[1]


  1. ^ Hansen, Helynne Hollstein (1998). Hortense Allart : the woman and the novelist. Lanham, Md [u.a.]: Univ. Press of America. ISBN 076181213X. 

External links[edit]