Jules Lemaître  

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François Élie Jules Lemaître (April 27, 1853 - August 4, 1914), was a French critic and dramatist, noted for his negative criticism of Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly.

He was born at Vennecy (Loiret). He became a professor at the university of Grenoble, but was already well known for his literary criticism, and in 1884 he resigned his position to devote his time to literature. He succeeded JJ Weiss as drama critic of the Journal des Débats, and subsequently filled the same office on the Revue des Deux Mondes. His literary studies were collected under the title of Les Contemporains (7 series, 1886-1899), and his dramatic feuilletons as impressions de théàtre (10 series, 1888-1898).

His sketches of modern authors show great insight and unexpected judgment as well as gaiety and originality of expression. He published two volumes of poetry: Les Médaillons (1880) and Petites orientales (1883); also some volumes of contes, among them En marge des vieux livres (1905). His plays are:

  • Révoltée (1889)
  • Le député Leveau, and Le Manage blanc (1891)
  • Les Rois (1893)
  • Le Pardon and L'Age difficile (1895)
  • La Massière (1905)
  • Bertnade (1906)

He was admitted to the French Academy on January 16 1896. His political views were defined in La Campagne nationaliste (1902), lectures delivered in the provinces by him and by Godefroy Cavaignac. He conducted a nationalist campaign in the Écho de Paris, and was for some time president of the Ligue de la Patrie Française, but resigned in 1904, and dedicated the rest of his life to writing.

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