François Coppée  

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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.

François Edouard Joachim Coppée (January 26, 1842May 23, 1908), was a French poet and novelist.



He was born in Paris to a civil servant. After attending the Lycée Saint-Louis he became a clerk in the ministry of war, and won public favour as a poet of the Parnassian school. His first printed verses date from 1864. In 1869 his first play, Le Passant, was received with approval at the Odéon theatre, and later Fais ce que dois (1871) and Les Bijoux de la délivrance (1872), short poetic dramas inspired by the Franco-Prussian War, were applauded.

After holding a post in the library of the senate, Coppée was chosen in 1878 as archivist of the Comédie Française, an office he held till 1884. In that year his election to the Académie française caused him to retire from all public appointments. He was made an officer of the Legion of Honour in 1888.

Coppée was famed as le poète des humbles (the poet of the humble). His verse and prose focus on plain expressions of emotion, patrotism, the joy of young love, and the pitifulness of the poor. He continued to write plays, mostly serious dramas in verse, two in collaboration with Armand d'Artois. The performance of a short episode of the Commune, Le Pater, was prohibited by the government in 1889. Coppée published his first prose work in 1875 and went on to publish short stories, an autobiography of his youth, a series of short articles on miscellaneous subjects, and La Bonne Souffrance, a popular account of his reconversion to the Roman Catholic Church. His conversion was due to a severe illness which twice brought him close to death. He was also interested with public affairs, joining the most violent section of the Nationalist movement (while remaining contemptuous of the apparatus of democracy) and taking a leading part against Alfred Dreyfus in the Dreyfus affair. He was one of the founders of the Ligue de la Patrie Française.



  • Le Reliquaire (1866)
  • Intimités (1867)
  • Poémes modernes (1867-9)
  • Les Humbles (1872)
  • Le Cahier rouge (1874)
  • Olivier (1875)
  • L'Exilée (1876)
  • Contes en vers (1881)
  • Poèmes et récits (1886)
  • Arrière-saison (1887)
  • Paroles sincères (1890)
  • Dans la prière et la lutte
  • Vers français


  • Le Passant (1869)
  • Fais ce que dois (1871)
  • Les Bijoux de la délivrance (1872)
  • Madame de Maintenon (1881)
  • Severo Torelli (1883)
  • Les Jacobites (1885)
  • Le Pater (1889)
  • Pour la couronne (1895) (translated into English by John Davidson as For the Crown and performed in London, 1896)

Prose works

  • Une Idylle pendant le siège (187)
  • Toute une jeunesse (1890)
  • Les Vrais riches (1892)
  • Le Coupable (1896)
  • Mon franc-parler (1893-96) (articles)
  • La Bonne Souffrance (1898)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "François Coppée" 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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