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ROBERT GARNIER (c. 1545–c.1600)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 473 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT GARNIER (c. 1545–c.1600), French tragic poet, was born at Ferte Bernard (Le Maine) in 1545. He published his first work while still a law-student at Toulouse, where he won a prize (1565) in the jeux floraux. It was a collection of lyrical pieces, now lost, entitled Plaintes amoureuses de Robert Garnier (1565). After some practice at the Parisian bar, he became conseiller du roi au siege presidial et senechaussee of Le Maine, his native district, and later lieutenant-general criminel. His friend Lacroix du Maine says that he enjoyed a great reputation as an orator. He was a distinguished magistrate, of considerable weight in his native province, who gave his leisure to literature, and whose merits as a poet were fully recognized by his own generation. He died at Le Mans probably in 1599 or 1600. In his early plays he was a close follower of the school of dramatists who were inspired by the study of Seneca. In these productions there is little that is strictly dramatic except the form. A tragedy was a series of rhetorical speeches relieved by a lyric chorus. His pieces in this manner are Porcie (published 1568, acted at the hotel de Bourgogne in 1573), Cornelie and Hippolyle (both acted in 1573 and printed in 1574). In Porcie the deaths of Cassius, Brutus and Portia are each the subject of an eloquent recital, but the action is confined to the death of the nurse, who alone is allowed to die on the stage. His next group of tragedies—Marc-Antoine (1578), La Troade (1579), Antigone (acted and printed 158o)—shows an advance on the theatre of Etienne Jodelle and Jacques Grevin, and on his own early plays, in so much that the rhetorical element is accompanied by abundance of action, though this is accomplished by the plan of joining together two virtually independent pieces in the same way. In 1582 and 1583 he produced his two masterpieces Bradamante and Les Juives. In Bradamante, which alone of his plays has no chorus, he cut himself adrift from Senecan models, and sought his subject in Ariosto, the result being what came to be known later as a tragi-comedy. The dramatic and romantic story becomes a real drama in Garnier's hands, though even there the lovers, Bradamante and Roger, never meet on the stage. The contest in the mind of Roger supplies a genuine dramatic interest in the manner of Corneille. Les Juives is the pathetic story of the barbarous vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar on the Jewish king Zedekiah and his children. The Jewish women lamenting the fate of their children take a principal part in this tragedy, which, although almost entirely elegiac in conception, is singularly well designed, and gains unity by the personality of the prophet. M. Faguet says that of all French tragedies of the 16th and 17th centuries it is, with Athalie, the best constructed with regard to the requirements of the stage. Actual representation is continually in the mind of the author; his drama is, in fact, visually conceived. Garnier must be regarded as the greatest French tragic poet of his century and the precursor of the great achievements of the next. The best edition of his works is by Wendelin Foerster (Heilbronn, 4 vols., 1882-1883). A detailed criticism of his works is to be found in Emile Faguet, La Tragedie franchise an XVP siecle (1883, pp. 183-307). GARNIER-PAGES, ETIENNE JOSEPH LOUIS (1802-1841), French politician, was born at Marseilles on the 27th of December 18o1. Soon after his birth his father Jean Francois Garnier, a naval surgeon, died, and his mother married Simon Pages, a college professor, by whom she had a son. The boys were brought up together, and took the double name Gamier-Pages. Etienne found employment first in a commercial house in Marseilles, and then roan insurance office in Paris. In 1825 he began to study law, and made some mark as an advocate. A keen opponent of the Restoration, he joined various democratic societies, notably the Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera, an organization for purifying the elections. He took part in the revolution of July 1830; became secretary of the Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera, whose propaganda he brought into line with his anti-monarchical.ideas; and in 1831 was sent from Isere to the chamber of deputies. He was concerned in the preparation of the Compte rendu of 1832, and advocated universal suffrage. He was an eloquent speaker, and his sound knowledge of business and finance gave him a marked influence among all parties in the chamber. He died in Paris on the 23rd of June 1841. His half-brother, Lours ANTOINE GARNIER-PAGES (1803-1878), fought on the barricades during the revolution of July 183o, and after Etienne's death was elected to the chamber ofdeputies (1842). He was a keen promoter of reform, and was a leading spirit in the affair of the reform banquet fixed for the 22nd of February 1848. He was a member of the provisional government of 1848, and was named mayor of Paris. On the 5th of March 1848 he was made minister of finance, and incurred great unpopularity by the imposition of additional taxes. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly and of the Executive Commission. Under the Empire he was conspicuous in the republican opposition and opposed the war with Prussia, and after the fall of Napoleon III. became a member of the Government of National Defence. Unsuccessful at the elections fog the National Assembly (the 8th of February 1871), he retired into private life, and died in Paris on the 31St of October 1878. He wrote Histoire de la revolution de 1848 (186o-1862) ; Histoire de la commission executive (1869-1872); and L'Opposition et ?empire (1872).
End of Article: ROBERT GARNIER (c. 1545–c.1600)
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