Pierre Carlet de Marivaux

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Pierre Carlet de Marivaux

Pierre Carlet de Marivaux , also Pierre de Chamblain de Marivaux (born February 4, 1688 in Paris , † February 12, 1763 ibid) was a French writer .

Known mainly as a novelist and playwright , this author is one of the most important French writers of the 1720s and 1730s; H. the period of the Early Enlightenment and the Rococo .

Life and work

The origin of the name "de Marivaux", which he probably only used from 1716, is unknown; “de Chamblain”, which can also be found in literary stories or encyclopedias, was actually the name of his older cousin, the architect J.-B. Bullet de Chamblain, and was only used occasionally by him.

Marivaux (as he is simply called in the history of literature) was born in Paris as Pierre Carlet, the son of a non-aristocratic middle-class official, who a little later became a mint controller in Riom , the then capital of Auvergne . His mother Marie Anne was the sister of the successful Parisian architect Pierre Bullet and initially stayed in Paris with the children. Marivaux spent his youth from the age of 12 in Riom, where he completed his schooling at an oratorian college and where he might already have written his first play, Le Père prudent et équitable (the wise and just father) and also began his first novel, Les effets surprenants de la sympathie (the surprising effects of sympathy).

In 1710 at the latest he was back in Paris; in any case, he enrolled in law that year. But apparently he hardly studied, but worked as an author. In 1712 the first three volumes of the Effets were printed and the Père prudent performed in Limoges and Paris . He had also found a protector in the censor of the Effets , the important early Enlightenment expert Fontenelle , who introduced him to Parisian literary circles. In 1713 he wrote another novel, Pharsamon, Ou les folies romanesques (Ph. Or The Romanesque Follies), which he did not print until 1737. In 1714 he wrote the long story La Voiture embourbée (the stuck car) and completed with Volume 4 and 5, the Effets . In 1715 he published a Télémaque travesti (the disguised / disguised T.), a parody of Fénelon's widely read educational novel Les aventures de Télémaque (1699). In 1716 he had the Iliad parody L'Iliade travesti follow. In doing so, he interfered in the dispute over Homer , which broke out in 1714 between Antoine Houdar de la Motte and Anne Dacier , a Homer translator who still advocated the thesis of the superiority of ancient literature over modern literature, which has existed since the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes was the subject of critical discussion.

At first apparently not incapable, around 1719 Marivaux invested his own money as well as that of his wife, who was married in 1717, in shares in the Compagnie de l'Occident, a banking and trading company founded in 1718, which in the mood of optimism during the reign (1715–1723) of Duke Philip von Orléans was created by the Scottish banker John Law in 1718 on the model of the great Dutch and English overseas trading companies. When the speculatively overvalued shares of the company plummeted in 1720 and the “ Lawsche System ” collapsed, Marivaux, his wife and little daughter (* 1719) were also poor people overnight.

He now apparently passed a law exam, but then did not work as a lawyer or the like, but wrote plays, especially comedies, which he wrote specifically for the troupe of the Comédiens italiens and their stars. His breakthrough was in 1720 Arlequin poli par l'amour (the Harlequin raised by love). His specialty quickly became the portrayal of the unnoticed and unwanted falling in love of two partners, especially those who initially appear to be separated by great differences in class, but then turn out to be socially equal and therefore suitable. This topic process z. B. La Surprise de l'amour , 1722 (the surprise of love); La double inconstance , 1723 (the mutual inconstancy); Le Prince travesti , 1723 (the prince in disguise); Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard , 1730 (The game of love and chance). In addition, Marivaux dealt with genuinely educational topics, such as B. in L'Île des esclaves , 1725 (the island of the slaves), where he shows how randomly and unfairly the roles of servants and masters were distributed in the caste society of the time; or in L'Île de la Raison , 1727 (the island of reason), where he confronts very sensible “savages” with Europeans who turn out to be very unreasonable and prejudicial. The considerable success of his pieces gave him access to the most prestigious salons in the capital.

At the end of 1726 (he was now a widower), Marivaux began the novel La Vie de Marianne (The Life of Marianne), in which a foundling is married by a nobleman only because of his qualities, namely beauty, spirit, feeling and virtue, and so on the nobility should rise. However, the author was still a long way from getting there when he broke off his work in 1742 after hundreds of pages and ten volumes already printed, presumably because he recognized the utopian nature of his conception of Marianne (and perhaps also because he just realized that he his own daughter could only become a nun for lack of a proper dowry, which also happened in 1745).

In 1734/35 he wrote five volumes of another novel, Le Paysan parvenu (The Arrived Villager), which was supposed to tell the story of the rise of a capable, but also upright young provincial to a rich banker. Although he also got stuck halfway, the Paysan with Marianne is one of the best novels of the time.

In addition to plays and novels, Marivaux also wrote magazine-like feature series based on the model of the Spectator, founded in 1711 by Joseph Addison in London . These were: Lettres sur les habitants de Paris (letters on the inhabitants of Paris, 1717/18), Le Spectateur français (the French spectator, 1721–24), L'Indigent philosophe (the poor philosopher, 1726) and Le Cabinet du philosophe (the philosopher 's cabinet, 1734).

In 1742 Marivaux became a member of the Académie française and shortly afterwards its Secrétaire perpétuel . This office, with which official residence, nobility-like privileges and gratifying opportunities for prestige were associated, formed the purpose of his life until his death.

The special achievement of the playwright Marivaux was the transfer of the playful, elegant language of the Parisian salons of his time into his pieces, which are accordingly not written in verse but in prose. After this language had outlived itself by the revolution of 1789 at the latest , Marivaux's style appeared as a mannered “ marivaudage ” by the end of the 18th century and especially to the romantics . At the end of the 19th century, however, this negative view was revised and Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard has since become one of the most widely played French comedies again. The novels La Vie de Marianne and Le Paysan parvenu are also considered to be two of the best and most readable French narrative works of the 18th century, although they have both remained unfinished.


Stage works

  1. Le Père prudent et équitable , performed in Limoges and Paris in 1712
  2. L'Amour et la vérité , world premiere (premiere) on March 3, 1720, only fragmentary preserved
  3. Arlequin poli par l'amour , UA 17th October 1720
  4. Annibal , premiered December 16, 1720, performed again on December 25, 1747, Vertragödie, partially translated by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  5. La Surprise de l'amour , UA 3rd May 1722
  6. La Double Inconstance , UA April 6, 1723
  7. Le Prince travesti , UA February 5, 1724
  8. La Fausse Suivante ou Le Fourbe puni , WP July 8, 1724; Filmed in 2000 by Benoît Jacquot
  9. Le Dénouement imprévu , UA December 2, 1724
  10. L'Île des esclaves , UA March 5, 1725
  11. L'Héritier de village , WP October 19, 1725
  12. Mahomet second , 1726 (?) Tragedy in prose, unfinished
  13. L'Île de la raison ou Les Petits Hommes , UA 11 September 1727
  14. La Seconde Surprise de l'amour , UA December 31, 1727
  15. Le Triomphe de Plutus , UA April 22, 1728
  16. La Nouvelle Colonie , 1729, lost, 2nd version 1750 as La Colonie
  17. Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard , UA 23 January 1730; most successful piece by the author; Filmedby Valérie Donzelli in 2013
  18. Reunion des Amours , premier November 5, 1731
  19. Le Triomphe de l'amour , UA March 12, 1732
  20. Les Serments indiscrets , UA June 8, 1732
  21. L'École des mères , UA July 25, 1732
  22. L'Heureux Stratagème , premier June 6th 1733
  23. La Méprise , premier August 16, 1734
  24. Le Petit-Maître corrigé , WP November 6, 1734
  25. Le Chemin de la fortune , published in “Le Cabinet du Philosophe”, 1734
  26. La Mère confidente , premiered May 9, 1735
  27. Le Legs , UA June 11, 1736
  28. Les Fausses Confidences , UA March 16, 1737; Filmed in 2015 by Luc Bondy (German title: "False Confidentialities")
  29. La Joie imprévue , WP 7 July 1738
  30. Les Sincères , UA January 13, 1739
  31. L'Épreuve , UA November 19, 1740
  32. La Commère , 1741
  33. La Dispute , UA October 10, 1744
  34. Le Préjugé vaincu , UA August 6, 1746
  35. La Colonie , UA 1750
  36. La Femme fidèle , UA August 24, 1755, only fragmentary preserved
  37. Félicie , published in “ Mercure de France ” March 1757
  38. Les Acteurs de bonne foi , published in “ Le Conservateur ” 1757
  39. La Provinciale , published in “ Mercure de France ” April 1761, authenticity doubted.

Journalistic works and essays

  1. Lettres sur les habitants de Paris , 1717–1718
  2. Lettres contenant une aventure
  3. Pensées sur différents subjects
  4. Le Spectateur français , 1721-1724
  5. L'Indigent philosophe , 1726
  6. Le Cabinet du philosophe , 1734
  7. L'Éducation d'un prince, dialogue , 1754

Novels, narrative works

  1. Les Aventures de *** ou Les Effets surprenants de la sympathie , 5 vols. 1712–1714
  2. Pharsamon ou Les Folies romanesques , 1713, only printed in 1737
  3. La Voiture embourbée , 1714
  4. Le Bilboquet , 1714
  5. Le Télémaque travesti , 1714
  6. L'Homère travesti ou L'Iliade en vers burlesques , 1716–1717
  7. La Vie de Marianne , begun in 1726, printed in ten volumes 1731–42, unfinished
  8. Le Paysan parvenu , printed in five volumes in 1734/35, unfinished

Web links

Commons : Pierre de Marivaux  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux  - Sources and full texts (French)