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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732–1799)

Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de (bō-mär-shā’). A French dramatist; born in Paris, Jan. 24, 1732; died there, May 18, 1799. He was the son of a Parisian watchmaker named Caron, learned his father’s trade, and by his vehement attack on a rival who pirated his patent attracted attention at court. His handsome appearance and manners procured advancement. He taught the daughters of Louis XV. to play the harp; married a rich widow. His first plays, ‘Eugénie’ (1767) and ‘The Two Friends’ (1770), had only moderate success. His great plays are: ‘The Barber of Seville’ (1775) and ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (1784), which had unprecedented success. The ‘Memoirs of Sieur Beaumarchais’ by himself (1774–78; new ed. by Sainte-Beuve, 1873) have never been surpassed for their satire and logic. Beaumarchais is a figure in Goethe’s drama ‘Clavigo.’ His ‘Theatre’ has been edited by Saint-Marc Girardin (Paris, 1861); his ‘Complete Works,’ by Moland (1774) and by Fournier (1875); the ‘Barber of Seville,’ by Austin Dobson (Oxford, 1884). (See Critical and Biographical Introduction).