Jean Mairet

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Jean Mairet

Jean Mairet (born January 4, 1604 in Besançon , † January 31, 1686 ibid) was a French author.

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Mariet is the author of about ten tragic-comedies and tragedies and was the most important Parisian playwright between 1625 and 1640, ie before the rise of Pierre Corneille , the oldest playwright among the French classics.

Mairet had actually come to Paris from Franche-Comté (which at that time belonged to the Spanish crown) to study, but quickly switched to piece-writing. When he was around 20, he received his first play from a theater, and in 1626 he made his breakthrough with the pastoral tragic comedy La Sylvie , a play based on Honoré d'Urfé's novel L'Astrée . In 1631, in the foreword to his tragedy Silvanire, he pleaded for compliance with the three units in the sense of the recently published treatise by Jean Chapelain and thus made a decisive contribution to the spread of the new doctrine, which he had completely ignored in La Sylvie .

His greatest success in 1634 was the tragedy La Sophonisbe , based on an Italian model , at the center of which is a Numidian queen who was defeated by the Romans and who would rather commit suicide than be led and put on display in a triumphal procession through Rome. The piece was played frequently well into the 18th century. But above all, it was the first successful French tragedy according to Chapelain's set of rules. With La Sophonisbe at the latest , the Alexandrian rhyming in pairs, mostly male and female rhyming pairs, with a caesura after the 6th syllable, became the obligatory linguistic form of tragedy and tragicomedy.

In 1637 Mairet wrote several pamphlets against Corneille, who had not respected the three units in his very successful tragic comedy Le Cid and was reprimanded for it by other writers and the new Académie française . Corneille responded, among other things, with an Avertissement au Besançonnois Mairet , in the title of which he visibly alluded to the fact that his opponent was almost an enemy foreigner, because France was just (1636-44) at war in Franche-Comté against Spain. The two authors ended the dispute only on the order of Cardinal Minister Richelieu , and Mairet had to give up his alleged main goal of hindering the rise of Corneille, who finally rose to the new Parisian star dramatist after 1640. He concluded his own career in 1643 with the tragic comedy La Sidonie .

However, he stayed in Paris and was appointed there in 1648 as a kind of ambassador for his home province, which was increasingly taken over by France after the Peace of Westphalia was concluded. In 1653 he was expelled from Paris by Cardinal Minister Mazarin for alleged anti-royal speeches during the Fronde uprising (1648–53) , but was soon allowed to return. When Franche-Comté was militarily occupied by Louis XIV in 1668 and Mairet's ambassadorial post was lost, he returned to his hometown, which, after having been a free German imperial city from 1307 to 1664 , finally became part of France in 1679.

Web links


  • Erich Köhler : Lectures on the history of French literature. Vol. 2: Pre-Classical . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1983, p. 116.