Francisque Sarcey  

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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.

Francisque Sarcey (October 8, 1827May 16, 1899) was a French journalist and dramatic critic.

He was born in Dourdan, Seine-et-Oise. After some years as schoolmaster, a job for which his temperament was ill-fitted, he entered journalism in 1858. He contributed to Le Figaro, L'Illustration, Le Gaulois, Le XIX' Siècle and other periodicals; but his main interest was dramatic criticism, of which he had his first experience in L'Opinion nationale in 1859. In 1867 he began to contribute to Le Temps the "feuilleton" with which his name was associated till his death. His position as dictator of dramatic criticism was unique. He had the secret of taking the public into his confidence, and his pronouncements upon new plays were accepted as final.

He was a masterly judge of acting and of stage effect; his views as to the drama itself were somewhat narrow and indifferent to artistic progress. He published several miscellaneous works, of which the most interesting are Le Siege de Paris, an account compiled from his diary (1871), Comédiens et comediennes (1878-1884), Souvenirs de jeunesse (1884) and Souvenirs d'âge mur (1892; Eng. trans., 1893). Quarante ans de theatre (1900) is a selection from his dramatic Feuilletons edited by A Brisson. He died in Paris.

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