Georges de Scudéry

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Georges de Scudéry

Georges de Scudéry (born August 22, 1601 in Le Havre , † May 14, 1667 in Paris ) was a French military man and man of letters.

Life and work

Today, Georges de Scudéry is practically only known as the brother of the author Madeleine de Scudéry , who published a large part of her novels under his name, but is much more respected in literary history.

Scudéry came from a noble family originally in the south of France. However, his father had become a naval officer and later commanded the fortified port of Le Havre. At the age of 12 he became an orphan and, together with his sister, who was six years his junior, came to live with an uncle near Rouen, who gave them a good education. Apparently he was around 20 years old in Rome. At 22 he became an officer and took part in some of the campaigns with which the crown attempted to break the power of Protestants who were actually equal. In 1630 he resigned to devote himself entirely to literature.

Together with his sister, who remained unmarried, he settled in Paris, where he developed the image of a noble military and warrior who only worked as a writer on the side and reluctantly.

He made his debut in 1631 with a volume of poems in the style of Théophile de Viau , but then worked primarily as a dramatist with a series of a total of 16 passably successful plays (see below), mostly tragic comedies . He obtained the protection of the almighty minister Cardinal Richelieu , who tried to harness the theater for his political purposes.

In the Querelle du Cid , the dispute over Pierre Corneille's successful tragic comedy Le Cid (opening at the end of 1636), he acted, initially with the support of Richelieu, as one of the most active critics of his younger competitor. His spiteful Observations sur “Le Cid” (1637) earned him only the reputation of a Beckknife in the long run . The Apologie du théâtre (1639) developed from the Observations , with which he tried to distinguish himself as a drama theorist, met with little response.

Around 1640 he tried his hand at being a novelist and, together with his sister Madeleine, wrote the four-volume novel Ibrahim, Ou l'Illustre Bassa (1641).

After the death of Richelieu (1642) he behaved neutrally towards his unpopular successor Cardinal Mazarin . He was rewarded with the post of commander of the Fort Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, which protected the port of Marseille . Here he stayed with Madeleine, who had followed him, until 1647, after which he was apparently able to be represented and returned to Paris.

During the Fronde (1648–52) Scudéry took sides against Mazarin and joined the Prince Condé . Undoubtedly thanks to his protection, he was elected member of the Académie française in 1650 as the successor to Claude Favre de Vaugelas . After Mazarin's victory, he was removed from his post in Marseilles and exiled to Normandy . He settled in Rouen , where he wrote a long epic in verse ( Alaric, Ou Rome vaincue , 1654) and married favorably.

When he was allowed to return to Paris in 1660, literary tastes had changed so much that he failed to make a comeback.


Poems / verses

  • Œuvres poétiques (1631)
  • Recueil de poésies (1649)
  • Alaric ou Rome vaincue (1654)


  • Ibrahim ou l'Illustre Bassa (4 vols., 1641, in collaboration with Madeleine)

The other novels published under Georges' name are probably mostly written by Madeleine:

  • Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus (10 volumes, 1649–1653)
  • Clélie (10 volumes, 1654–1660)
  • Almahida (8 volumes, 1660–1663)

Theater (selection)

  • Lydamon et Lydias (1631)
  • Le trompeur puni (1633)
  • La Comédie des Comédiens (1634)
  • Le Vassal généreux (1635)
  • Le Prince déguisé (1635)
  • L'Amour tyrannique (1638)
  • Ibrahim ou l'Illustre Bassa (1642) (adaptation of the novel of the same name)

Other fonts (selection)

  • Observations on "Le Cid" (1637)
  • Preuve de passages allégués dans les "Observations sur" Le Cid "" (1637)
  • Apologie du théâtre (1649)

Web links

Wikisource: Georges de Scudéry  - Sources and full texts (French)