Online Encyclopedia

ALEXANDRE SOUMET (1788-1845)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 437 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALEXANDRE SOUMET (1788-1845), French poet, was born on the 8th of February 1788 at Castelnaudary, department of Aude. His father wished him to enter the army, but an early-developed love of poetry turned the boy's ambition in other directions. He was an admirer of Klopstock and Schiller, then little known in France, and reproached Mme de Stael with lack of enthusiasm for her subject in De l'Allemagne. Soumet came to Paris in 181o, and some poems in honour of Napoleon secured his nomination as auditor of the Conseil d'etat. His well-known elegy La Pauvre fille appeared in 1814, and two successful tragedies produced in 1822, Clytemnestre and Said, secured his admission to the Academy in 1824. Jeanne d'Arc (1825) aroused great enthusiasm, and was the best of his plays. Among his other pieces Elisabeth de France (1828), a weak imitation of Schiller's Don Carlos, may be noted, but Soumet's real bent was towards epic poetry. His most considerable work is a poem inspired by Klopstock, La Divine epopee, which describes the descent of Christ into Hades. Under Louis XVIII. he became librarian of Saint-Cloud, and subsequently was transferred to Rambouillet and to Compiegne. He died on the 3oth of March 1845, leaving an unfinished epic on Jeanne d'Arc. His daughter Gabrielle (Mme Beauvain d'Altenheim) had collaborated with him in some of his later works.
End of Article: ALEXANDRE SOUMET (1788-1845)
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