Fa Vart, Charles Simon
favart paris time
FA VART, CHARLES SIMON (1710-1792), French dramatist, was born at Paris, November 13, 1710. He was the son of a noted pastry-cook, a man of some parts who in his leisure hours amused himself with making verses. The son was educated at the college of Louis-le-Grand, and after his father's death carried on the business for a time for the sake of his mother. His first success in literature was a poem. entitled La France delivree par In Pucelle d'Orleans, which obtained the prize of the Academie des Jeux Fluraux. After the production of his first vaudeville, Les Deux Junvlles, circumstances enabled him to relinquish his business and devote himself entirely to the drama. He provided many pieces anonymously for the lesser theatres, and first put his name to La Chercheuse d'Esprit, which was produced in 1741. Amorg his most successful works were A ascetic et Lublin, Le Co;du Village (1743), Ninette a la Cour (1755), Les T rois &Rages (1761), and L' Anglais cl Bordeaux (1763). Favart became director of the Opera Comique ; and in 1715 lie married Mademoiselle Duronceray, a beautiful young singer and actress who had made a successful debut the year before. By their united talents and labours the Op6ra Comique rose to such a height of success that the jealousy of rival theatres was aroused, and through their influence the house was suppressed the same year. Favart thus left without resources accepted the proposal of Marshal Saxe, and undertook the direction of a troupe of comedians which was to accompany his army into Flanders. It was part of his duty to compose from time to time impromptu verses on the events of the campaign, amusing and stimulating the spirits of the men. So popular were Favart and his troop that " the enemy " became desirous of sharing his services, and permission was given to gratify them, battles and comedies thus curiously alternating with each other. But in the midst of his success a heavy blow fell upon him. The marshal had looked with evil eyes upon Favart's young wife, and attempted to seduce her. To escape him the wife fled to Paris, and the wrath of the foiled adulterer fell upon the husband. A lettre de cachet was issued against him, and he only saved himself by flight and concealment in a cave. Madame Favart meanwhile had been distinguishing herself at the Comedic haiku ; but as she still rejected the brutal advances of the marshal, she was suddenly arrested and confined in a provincial convent, where she was treated as a prisoner of state. After an imprisonment of more than a year her fortitude gave way, and, yielding to the will of her pursuer, she was at length liberated. After the marshal's death in 1750, Favart returned to Paris, and resumed his pursuits as a dramatist. It was at this time that the Abb6 de Voisenon became intimately associated with him and took part in his labours, though to what extent is uncertain. Madame Favart, after a long and painful illness, died at Paris, April 22, 1772. She is remembered as a bold reformer of stage costumes, breaking with the custom of dressing all the dramatis personae in court or showy style, and introducing the use of costumes appropriate to the various characters. She had remarkable powers of mimicry, especially of the speech and accent of foreigners. She assisted her husband in some of his best productions. He felt her loss deeply, survived her twenty years, becoming nearly blind in his last days, and died at Paris, May 12, 1792. His works have been several times republished In 1809 appeared his Memoires et Correspondancelitteraire; dramatique, et anecdotigne, which furnish valuable information on the state of the literary and theatrical worlds in the 18th century. This work, in 3 vols. 8vo, was edited by his grandson A. P. C. Favart and H. F. Dumolard.