Online Encyclopedia

ETIENNE JODELLE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 427 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ETIENNE JODELLE  , seigneur de Limodin (1532–1573), French dramatist and poet, was born in Paris of a noble
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family . He attached himself to the poetic circle of the Pleiade (see DAURAT) and proceeded to apply the principles of the reformers to dramatic composition . Jodelle aimed at creating a classical drama that should be in every respect different from the moralities and soties that then occupied the French stage . His first
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play, Cleopdtre captive, was represented before the court at Reims in 1552 . Jodelle himself took the title role, and the cast included his friends Remy Belleau and
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Jean de la Peruse . In honour of the play's success the friends organized a little fete at
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Arcueil when a goat garlanded with flowers was led in procession and presented to the author—a ceremony exaggerated by the enemies of the Ronsardists into a renewal of the pagan
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rites of the worship of Bacchus . Jodelle wrote two other plays .
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Eugene, a
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comedy satirizing the
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superior clergy, had less success than it deserved . Its preface poured scorn on Jodelle's predecessors in comedy, but in reality his own methods are not so very different from theirs . Didon se sacrifiant, a tragedy which follows Virgil's narrative, appears never to have been represented . Jodelle died in poverty in
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July 1573 . His
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works were collected the
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year after his
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death by Charles de la Mothe .

They include a quantity of

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miscellaneous verse dating chiefly from Jodelle's youth . The intrinsic value of his tragedies is small . Cleopdtre is lyric rather than dramatic . Throughout the five acts of the piece nothing actually happens . The death of Antony is announced by his ghost in the first act; the story of
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Cleopatra's suicide is related, but not represented, in the fifth . Each act is terminated by a chorus which moralizes on such subjects as the inconstancy of fortune and the judgments of heaven on human pride . But the play was the starting-point of French classical tragedy, and was soon followed by the Medee (1553) of Jean de la Peruse and the Aman (1561) of Andre de Rivaudeau . Jodelle was a rapid worker, but idle and fond of dissipation . His friend Ronsard said that his published poems gave Do adequate idea of his powers . Jodelle's works are collected (1868) in the Pleiade francaise of Charles Marty-Laveaux . The prefatory
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notice gives full information of the
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sources of Jodelle's biography, and La Mothe's criticism is reprinted in its entirety .

End of Article: ETIENNE JODELLE
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