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JEAN DE MAIRET (1604–1686)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 445 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN DE MAIRET (1604–1686), French dramatist, was born at Besancon, and baptized on the loth of May 1604. His own statement that he was born in 1610 has been disproved. He went to Paris to study at the College des Grassins about 1625, in which year he produced his first piece Chriseide et Arimand, followed in 1626 by Sylvie, a " pastoral tragi-comedy." In 1634 appeared his masterpiece, Sophonisbe, which marks, in its observance of the rules, the beginning of the " regular " tragedies. Mairet was one of the bitterest assailants of Corneille in the controversy over The Cid. It was perhaps his jealousy of Corneille that made him give up writing for the stage. He was appointed in 1648 official representative of the Franche-Comte in Paris, but in 1653 he was banished by Mazarin. He was subsequently allowed to return, but in 1668 he retired to Besancon, where he died on the 31st of January 1686. His other plays include Silvanire ou la Morte-vive, published in 1631 with an elaborate preface on the observance of the unities, Les Galanteries du duc d'Orsonne (1632), Virginie (1633), Marc-Antoine (1635), and Le Grand at dernier Solyman (1637). See G. Bizos, Etude sur la vie et les teuvres de Jean de Mairet (1877). Sophonisbe was edited by K. Vollmoller (Heilbronn, 1888), and Silvanire by R. Otto (Bamberg, 1890).
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