Edmé Boursault  

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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.

Edmé Boursault (October 1638 – September 15, 1701) was a French dramatist and miscellaneous writer, born at Mussy l'Evéque, now Mussy-sur-Seine (Aube).

On his first arrival in Paris in 1651 his language was limited to Burgundian language, but within a year he produced his first comedy, Le Mon vivant. This and some other pieces of small merit secured for him distinguished patronage in the society ridiculed by Molière in the Ecole des femmes. Boursault was persuaded that the Lysidas of that play was a caricature of himself, and attacked Molière in Le Portrait du peintre ou la contre-critique de l'Ecole des femmes (1663). Molière retaliated in L'Impromptu de Versailles, and Boileau attacked Boursault in Satires 7 and 9. Boursault replied to Boileau in his Satire des satires (1669), but was afterwards reconciled with him, when Boileau on his side erased his name from his satires.

Boursault obtained a considerable pension as editor of a rhyming gazette, which was, however, suppressed for ridiculing a Capuchin friar, and the editor was only saved from the Bastille by the interposition of Condé. In 1671 he produced a work of edification in Ad usum Delphini: la veritable étude des souverains, which so pleased the court that its author was about to be made assistant tutor to the dauphin when it was found that he was ignorant of Greek and Latin, and the post was given to Pierre Huet. Perhaps in compensation Boursault was made collector of taxes at Montlucon about 1672, an appointment that he retained until 1688.

Among his best-known plays are Le Mercure galant, the title of which was changed to La Comédie sans titre ("Play without a title") (1683) when the publisher of the literary review of the same name objected (see "Mercure de France"); La Princesse de Clêves (1676), an unsuccessful play which, when refurbished with fresh names by its author, succeeded as Germanicus; Esope à la ville (1690); and Esope à la cour (1701). His lack of dramatic instinct could hardly be better indicated than by the scheme of his Esope, which allows the fabulist to come on the stage in each scene and recite a fable. Boursault died in Paris on the 15th of September 1701.

The Œuvres choisies of Boursault were published in 1811, and a sketch of him is to be found in M. Saint-René Taillandier's Etudes littéraires (1881).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Edmé Boursault" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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