Charles Maurice Donnay  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles Maurice Donnay (1859 - 1945), French dramatist, was born of middle-class parents in Paris. Graduated as an engineer of École Centrale Paris, he left the industrial sector to write.

He made his serious debut as a dramatist on the little stage of the Chat Noir with Phryne (1891), a series of Greek scenes. Lysistrata, a four-act comedy, was produced at the Grand Théâtre in 1892 with Mme Rejane in the title part. Later plays were:

  • Folle Entreprise (1894)
  • Pension de famille (1894)
  • Complices (1895), in collaboration with M. Groselande
  • Amants (1895), produced at the Renaissance theatre with Mme Jeanne Granier as Claudine Rozeray
  • La Douloureuse (1897)
  • L'Affranchie (1898)
  • Georgette Lemeunier (1898)
  • Le Torrent (1899), at the Comédie Française
  • Education de prince (1900)
  • La Clairière (1900)
  • Oiseaux de passage (1904), in collaboration with Lucien Descaves
  • La Bascule (Igor)
  • L'Autre danger, at the Comédie Française (1902)
  • Le Retour de Jerusalem (1903)
  • L'Escalade (1904)
  • Paraître (1906)

With Amants he won a great success, and the play was hailed by Jules Lemaître as the Berenice of contemporary French drama. Very advanced ideas on the relations between the sexes dominate the whole series of plays, and the witty dialogue is written with an apparent carelessness that approximates very closely to the language of every day.

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