Online Encyclopedia

PIERRE LARIVEY (c. 1550-1612)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 217 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PIERRE LARIVEY (c. 1550-1612), French dramatist, of Italian origin, was the son of one of the Giunta, the famous printers of Florence and Venice. The family was established at Troyes and had taken the name of Larivey or L'Arrivey, by way of translation from giunto. Pierre Larivey appears to have cast horoscopes, and to have acted as clerk to the chapter of the church of St Etienne, of which he eventually became a canon. He has no claim to be the originator of French comedy. The Corrivaux of Jean de la Taille dates from 1562, but Larivey naturalized the Italian comedy of intrigue in France. He adapted, rather than translated, twelve Italian comedies into French prose. The first volume of the Comedies facetieuses appeared in 1579, and the second in 1611. Only nine in all were printed.' The licence of the manners depicted in these plays is matched by the coarseness of the expression. Larivey's merit lies in the use of popular language in dialogue, which often rises to real excellence, and was not without influence on Moliere and Regnard. Moliere's L'Avare owes something to the scene in Larivey's masterpiece, Les Esprits, where Severin laments the loss of his purse, and the opening scene of the piece seems to have suggested Regnard's Retour imprevu. It is uncertain whether Larivey's plays were represented, though they were evidently written for the stage. In any case prose comedy gained very little ground in popular favour before the time of Moliere. Larivey was the author of many translations, varying in subject from the Facetieuses nuits (1573) of Straparola to the Humanite de Jesus-Christ (1604) from Pietro Aretino.
End of Article: PIERRE LARIVEY (c. 1550-1612)
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