Talk:Pierre Beaumarchais

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Caron vs. Beaumarchais[edit]

In the first half of the article--the part that discusses his life before he changed his name to Beaumarchais--we refer to him as Caron. I think that because his name was Beaumarchais when he died, we should refer to him as such throughout the entire article. Does anyone have any objections to me changing it? --Berserk798 03:21, July 27, 2005 (UTC)

I agree that a single name should be used throughout the article. Using Beaumarchais has several advantages. The explanation about his name change can be left towards the end of the article while Caron would require a deft explanation at the beginning (something with more information than the current one). Also, Beaumarchais is more promiment in the title of the article. But, either way is fine with me as long as it's consistent throughout the piece. Amadeust 14:05, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Author's response on Caron v. Beaumarchais, and a few other things[edit]

Thanks for all your spelling corrections; I haven't had time to look back. I also enjoyed your discussions. It's always good to see that there are other Beaumarchais enthusists around, outside of France. I would, however, like to make a few points, to clarify some of the choices I made in writing this article.

(1) The usage of Caron and Beaumarchais was not arbitrary. This has to do with historical consistency. Caron adopted his more familiar title shortly after his first marriage, so it was inappropriate to refer to him as "Beaumarchais" before that happened. I did explain in detail how he adopted his more familiar name. More importantly, I also want the reader to make a temporal distinction between Caron and Beaumarchais.

(2) French title capitalisation is different from English. You only need to capitalise the first word. (In fact, I just use the French convention on all titles to rid myself of any ambiguity).

(3) The judgement of the La Blanche case was equivocal, not inconclusive. The judges did reach a decision (inconclusive implied no judgement could be made), but the judgment did not favour any party, or was intentionally ambiguous. Hence the incumbent equivocal was used correctly.


The French title convention[edit]

I have contemplated with the capitalisation, and returned to my sources. I have decided to adopt the following convention. Capitalisation will occur on:

  1. The first letter of the first word of the title (for instance, "Eugéne")
  2. The first letter of the second word of the title, if the first word is an article. This includes contractions (for instance, L'Autre Tartuffe)
  3. The first letter of any word of the title denoting a name (for instance, Le Mariage de Figaro)

--Bart weisser 23:57, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Dictions used ...[edit]

To Beserk:

  Humm ... I looked at your changes.  Some of them I reverted.  Please see comments below.

1) The word "née" is used to indicate a woman's maiden name. I have not seen the word "born" used for that purpose, at least not in official documents.

2) All titles (including short-hands) now follow the French convention, which I have outlined on my previous response.

3) I apologise for being ambiguous at some points. Some of your changes (I forgot where) didn't really clarify what I actually meant. Your changes nevertheless gave me some ideas as of what to do. Thanks.

4) The possessive form of Beaumarchais (Beaumarchais' and Beaumarchais's) are equally acceptable. If you insist on the latter, I have no objections.

5) In my opinion, the article has reached a point no further minor modification is necessary. I am looking for someone to help expand the part on the Figaro plays. Do you think you have enough information on that to start?

Thanks, BW. --Bart weisser 05:10, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

  • 1) I thought that some people might get confused if we used the word "née", but I suppose we could leave it that way. I really don't see the need to mention their maiden names anyway, seeing as how they aren't well-known people.

2) I'm sorry, I thought I was correcting them.

4) Many people would use "Beaumarchais'" as the possesive form, but it's incorrect. To use "Beaumarchais'" would be indicating that the noun is plural and the word is "Beaumarchai". Further more, the 's' in Beaumarchais is silent so it makes more sense to use "Beaumarchais's"

5) I'm afraid I don't know much of the Figaro plays.

--Berserk798 22:48, August 2, 2005 (UTC)

Copyright Reference[edit]

I'm a fan of Beaumarchais who feels it's pretty imperative that we talk about how Beaumarchais invented copyrighting. I'm not the expert, but my friend who is a French literature professor at CSU Los Angeles says this is probably one of his biggest contributions to writing, in addition to his plays. (My friend is French and my English is better than his, hence why I'm writing this section and not him.)

Well, it would be important if Beaumarchais did invent copyright. But he didn't. Copyright was established in 1710, twenty two years before Beaumarchais was even born. But even that was based on earlier activity. Sorry, your friend is simply wrong. --Yamla 16:33, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

First of all, my friend has a Ph.D. in French Literature from Princeton. What are your qualifications to discredit what he says? The French credit Beaumarchais with the invention because Beaumarchais was the first to claim it for authors. (And that might be where your confusion lies. Previously all so-called "copyright" laws protected the publishers, not the authors.) If it weren't for Beaumarchais, people would still be stealing the work of writers and using it for their own without penalty.

Here's an article by a European copyright attorney, who calls Beaumarchais "the father of the copyright":

And, incidentally, there isn't an article in Wikipedia on "copyright," in case you were trying to link to it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 22 May 2006.

"…isn't an article…" Excuse me? Copyright. There are versions clear back to September 2001, nearly five years before your remark; prior to that, I'm afraid article histories are lost, but it's easy to see it wasn't a new article them. - Jmabel | Talk 05:36, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of copyright[edit]

The section on the initial staging: un-wikified; there's a place where it refers to "text missing"; etc. Sure looks like it may have been grabbed from somewhere else, but it doesn't say where. Are we sure this isn't a copyvio? - Jmabel | Talk 05:41, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Staging of Figaro?[edit]

This is an article on Beaumarchais. Doesn't it look a little disproportioned when his other plays were only briefly mentioned? Maybe it is better to graft it to a more appropriate section (like, an article on the actual play?) Besides, whoever wrote it didn't really conform with the title conventions (quote title in their original language please), and the quotes are inconsistent (mixed single and double quotes).

All in all, I think we should move this section into another article on The Marriage of Figaro, like I previously suggested.

-- 02:29, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to get a clear statement of it being legitimate in copyright terms (as I asked for in the previous talk section) before we consider refactoring it and making its provenance even harder to sort out. - Jmabel | Talk 06:30, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Section on staging moved[edit]

This section looks pligurized. But without conclusive evidence, I will not take it out of Wikipedia. However, I don't think a detailed discussion on Figaro is appropriate for an article orignally intended on its author. I have moved it to the page for the play (I think it is the Mariage de Figaro). I assume they can determine better whether said content is original or directly taken from another source without credit.

--Bart weisser 13:22, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Beaumarchais did NOT invent copyright.[edit]

The earliest evidence of copyright laws existed in England in 1709. To quote []

It was not until the 1709 Statute of Anne which passed into law on 10th April 1710 that copyright in books and other writings gained protection of an Act of Parliament. Prior to this, disputes over the rights to the publishing of books could be enforced by common law.

A similar article on Wikipedia on the History of Copyright Law also indicates likewise.

Beaumarchais was born in 1732, making it impossible to be the inventor of copyright.

-- 13:05, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

An additional passage from the same web site [], showing that the Statue of Anne was, indeed, drafted for authors (not publishers).

The passing of the Statute of Anne, which was the first Copyright Act in the world to deal with this issue, introduced two new concepts - an author being the owner of copyright and the principle of a fixed term of protection for published works. The Act also brought about the depositing of nine copies of a book to certain libraries throughout the country. Subsequent Copyright Acts introduced copyright protection for other works. The term of protection was also extended.

Beaumarchais *might* (and might I emphasise the uncertainty at this moment) be the father of copyrighting in France, but he did not invent the concept.

-- 06:36, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

the movie[edit]

Why is there no article about the french movie called Beaumarchais? or if there is one, why can't i find it? could someone help me please! Elizej 11:48, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

There is no article because no one has written one. Care to? - Jmabel | Talk 06:44, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Some clarifications[edit]

I made some minor corrections on the article (after not touching it for almost a couple months) ...

1) "crossing swords" has a pretty negative connotation (look up any urban dictionary). I have reverted it to "crossing paths".

2) Beaumarchais tried to buy 60 000 rifles for the French Revolutionary army in Holland, not the other way around

3) I thought that part on the watch escape mechanism sounded pretty clumsy (I may have been the one who wrote it in the first place, if I did, i apologize). I changed it to make it sound cleaner.

4) What exactly does "Pâris dit Duverney" mean? why not just "Pâris-Duverney"

5) I don't remember if Beaumarchais started refering himself as "de Beaumarchais" before or after he bought the royal title. Can anyone verify this?

6) Did Beaumarchais "falsely claimed that Louis XV had been in favour of assisting the American Revolution" so that his son would follow suit? Can anybody verify this?

7) Right before the French Revolution, Beaumarchais did live across from the Bastille, not the site that used to be the prison.

I think that's it.

--Bart weisser 15:22, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

To Rod Green[edit]

I have decided to remove a paragraph on the Barber of Seville introduced by Rod Green, for the following reasons:

1) This article concerns only Beaumarchais, and the plays in context of his biography. The "special version" introduced by Rod Green does not fit in this article.

2) Interpretations on play (i.e., revival editions) happen all the time, and inclusion of Rod Green's interpretation would result in inclusion of all known versions of the play, which is out of the scop of this article.

2) Since Rod Green is also the author of the revived play, there is an element of blantant advertisment in his edition.

--Bart weisser 15:34, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Reference and sources[edit]

This is a tricky issue, because, when much of the information I presented for the article are avaiable from a number different sources which became available to me at some point of time. This represents a convergence of informtion and opinions presented, and, for the majority of the article, I don't think it is necessary to reference every single source.

I did, however, recall getting very specific information from two books that I have (e.g., name of Beaumarchais' brother-in-law in Spain, and the title of his first six short plays). I have reviewed the article, and placed the references from where the "exclusive" information is obtained.

I hope the referencing and the corresponding method are sufficient to remove the "reference needed" tag for this article.

--Bart weisser 23:32, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Beaumarchais and Bastille[edit]

I have very slow net connection. PLs excuse if I can not give all references or dates. There was no massacre at the BAstille. There were only a few prisoners. After the storming the governor was stabbed to death. The whole storming started a few days after the Marquis de Sade shouted from a window:"They are killing the prisoners here." He was swiftly moved to another prison and was not in the Bastille when it was stormed.


I think we are talking about two different things here. The September masscare happened in 1792, 5 years after the Storming of the Bastille. Thanks for bringing that up, since I wasn't very sure, but fortunately there is already another Wikipedia article about the masscare, which clarified things a bit. --Bart weisser (talk) 01:15, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Style and tone[edit]

This article has a very unencyclopedic tone. While I am not suggesting anything here isn't factual, it is written in a sensational manner, beginning with the cheeky first sentence and continuing throughout. For example: An encyclopedia might say "in 1780, Beaumarchais patented a pump that was installed in a reservoir supplying water to Paris, thus making him a small fortune." In this article, we have "He was financially successful (mainly from supplying drinking water to Paris)." This seems to be designed to be a humorous non-sequitor, rather than an actual informative statement. The entire article is written like this. I honestly don't know much about this man's life, but the first couple paragraphs immediately had me thinking some of the details must be fake, because they seem so fabulous and sensationalized. This is only compounded by the lack of consistent citations. But I think the tone is a bigger problem, because a lack of extensive citations can be overlooked if the entry is soberly written and has a lot of specific detail. - (talk) 04:46, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


Indeed, it is hard to believe how someone can achieve so much in his lifetime? Many of us simply think that 18th century Europe is all about men in tights and women in big dresses attending tea parties and gossip, living happily there after. Sometimes a fairy or two is thrown in for a good measure.

Quickly forgotten, is the fact that during this period, Europe was in the midst of some of the most disruptive political, social, and economical turomoils. Beaumarchais, like many others in his time, was caught in the middle of this. The upheavals that he expereinced, as described in this article, reflects partly the macroscopic changes in European society.

With the relative peace and stability and we have been enjoying since the WWII, it is not difficult to understand how the contemporary reader (and prospective Wikipedian) would go through Beaumarchais' life without putting his achievements in the proper historical context, and quickly dismisses them as "sensational", "non-factual", and "unencyclopedic". Such tone, I think, is by itself quite pompous, if not outright ignorant.

--Bart weisser (talk) 00:52, 22 February 2008 (UTC)


This is a call for help to put Wikifying references for this article. I really have no clue how to do it. Been reading other articles, but I am totally puzzled as to what to do? Where is the fascinating manual, or can someone just leave a very simple instructions so that I can do that?

Please ... with sugar, cream, and cherry on top! --Bart weisser (talk) 20:17, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

It's been a long while since the Wikification of references (many thanks to whoever did it!). Why is there still a warning about citations? Are we missing other things? Bart weisser (talk) 23:15, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Post-Early Republic[edit]

A quick history footnote mentioned in "Beaumarchais and the American Revolution." By Brian N. Morton and Donald C. Spinelli.

"In 1961, when Presient John F. Kennedywent to France, he attended a reception along ith the future French Ambassadir to England, Jacques de Beaumarchais. Upon meeting the President, this latter day descendent of Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, Presented Kennedy with an IOU signed by order of Congress agreeing to pay Mr. Caron de Beaumarchais for goods received by the United States." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Historylawyer (talkcontribs) 04:42, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

Perhaps we could cut down the titles a bit? Just what he's most known for? Right now it reads like a parody. Zazaban (talk) 19:21, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps it does read like a parody, but truth is stranger than fiction: Beaumarchais really did all of those things, and he did them with history-changing gusto. Presenting him as a less-multifaceted character does simplify the opening sentence, but it doesn't do justice to his life; therefore I've gone ahead and restored his full job description.--Lemuellio (talk) 14:06, 3 September 2011 (UTC)