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VICOMTE DE HENRI BORNIER (1825-1901)

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 265 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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VICOMTE DE HENRI BORNIER (1825-1901) French poet and dramatist, was born at Lunel (Herault) on the 25th of December 1825. He came to Paris in 1845 with the object of studying law, but in that year he published a volume of verse, Les Premieres Feuilles, and the Comedie Francaise accepted a play of his entitled Le Mariage de Luther. He was given a post in the library of the Arsenal, where he served for half a century, becoming director in 1889. In 1875 was produced at the Theatre Francais his heroic drama in verse, La Fille de Roland. The action of the play turns on the love of Gerald, son of the traitor Ganelon, for the daughter of Roland. The patriotic subject and the nobility of the character of Gerald, who renounces Berthe when he learns his real origin, procured for the piece a great success. The conflict between honour and love and the grandiose sentiment of the play inevitably provoked comparison with Corneille. The piece would indeed be a masterpiece if, as its critics were not slow to point out, the verse had been quite equal to the subject. Among the numerous other works of M. de Bornier should be mentioned: Dimitri (1876), libretto of an opera by M. V. de Joncieres; and the dramas, Les Noces d' Attila (188o) and Makomet (1888). The production of this last piece was forbidden in deference to the representations of the Turkish ambassador. Henri de Bornier was critic of the Nouvelle Revue from 1879 to 1887. His Poesies completes were published in 1894. He died in January 1901.
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