Fabre d'Églantine


Fabre d'Églantine

Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Églantine (commonly known as "Fabre d'Églantine"; July 28, 1750 – April 5, 1794) was a French actor, dramatist, and politician of the French Revolution.

Early life

He was born in Carcassonne. His surname was Fabre, the "d'Églantine" being added in commemoration of his receiving a silver dog rose ( _fr. églantine) from Clémence Isaure from the Academy of the "Jeux Floraux" at Toulouse. He married Marie Strasbourg Nicole Godin on November 9, 1778. His earliest works included the poem Étude de la nature, the Study of Nature in 1783. After travelling in the provinces as an actor, he came to Paris, where he produced an unsuccessful comedy entitled "Les Gens de lettres, ou Le provincial à Paris" (1787).

A tragedy, "Augusta", produced at the "Théâtre Français", also proved a failure. Many of his plays were popular and he is remarked as one of the most important playwright during the French Revolution. His most popular play was: "Philinte, ou La suite du Misanthrope" (1790), supposed to be a continuation of Molière's "Le Misanthrope", but the hero of the piece is a different character from the nominal prototype —a pure and simple egotist. On its publication, the play was introduced by a preface, in which the author satirises "L'Optimiste" of his rival Jean François Collin d'Harleville, whose "Châteaux en Espagne" had gained the applause which Fabre's "Présomptueux" (1789) had failed to win. The character of Philinte had much political significance. Alceste received the highest praise, and stands for the patriot citizen, while Philinte is a dangerous aristocrat in disguise.

Political activity

Fabre served as president and secretary of the club of the Cordeliers, and belonged also to the Jacobin Club. Georges Danton chose Fabre as his private secretary, and he sat in the National Convention of 1792-1795. D'Églantine voted for the death of King Louis XVI, supporting the "maximum" and a law which allowed for summary executions, and he was a bitter enemy of the Girondins.

After the death of Jean-Paul Marat (13 July 1793), Fabre published a "Portrait de l'Ami du Peuple". On the abolition of the Gregorian Calendar in France he sat on the committee entrusted with the creation of the French Republic's Revolutionary Calendar. The calendar was designed by the politician and agronomist Charles Gilbert Romme, although it is usually attributed to Fabre d'Eglantine, who invented the names of the months. This Calendar featured ten day week so that Sunday would be forgotten as a religious day and the months were named after the various times during the seasons and he contributed a large part of the new nomenclature ("Prairial", "Floréal", as well as "Primidi" and "Duodi"). The report which he made on the subject, on October 24 1793, adds scientific information.

Execution and legacy

Early on the morning of 14 November 1793 the Montagnard exmonk Francois Chabot burst into Maximilien Robespierre's bedroom draging him from bed with accusations of counter-revolution and conspirace waving a hundred thousand livres in assignat notes claiming that a band of royalist plotters gave it to him to buy Fabre d'Eglantine's vote, along with others, to liquidate some stock in the French East India Company. On 12 January 1794 Fabre was arrested by order of the Committee of Public Safety on a charge of malversation and forgery in connection with the affairs of the French East India Company (documents still existing prove that the charge was altogether groundless). This struck a hard blow to the Montagnard's and sent them on their way to extinction in the Convention. During his trial, d'Eglantine was asked to speak on his on behalf and tried to twist the story around on other people but was unsuccessful, Fabre showed the greatest calmness and sang his own well-known song:

"Il pleut, il pleut, bergère,
"rentre tes blancs moutons.
Fabre died under the guillotine on 5 April 1794 with the other Dantonists. On his way to the scaffold he distributed his handwritten poems to the people.

According to a popular legend, Fabre complained bitterly about the injustice done to him on the way to the scaffold. Whereupon Danton replied with supreme sarcasm: "Des vers... Avant huit jours, tu en feras plus que tu n'en voudras!" ("Before eight days have passed, you'll make more of them than you would like to"), where "them" ("vers") can be understood as either "verses" or "worms".

A posthumous play, "Les Précepteurs", using the themes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "", was performed on September 17, 1794, and met with an enthusiastic reception. Among Fabre's other plays are the "Convalescent de qualité" (1791), and "L'Intrigue épistolaire" (1791, supposedly including a depiction of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze). The author's "Œuvres mêlées et posthumes" were first published at Paris in 1802 in 2 volumes.

References

* The Britannica cites as its sources:
**Albert Maurin, "Galerie hist. de la Révolution française", tome n
**Jules Janin, "Histoire de la littérature dramatique"
**André Chénier, "Tableau de la littérature française"; FA Aulard in the "Nouvelle Revue" (July 1885).
**Andress, David. 2006. The Terror the merciless war for freedom in revolutionary France. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
**Andrews, George. “Making the Revolutionary Calendar.” The American Historical Review, Vol. 36, No. 3. (1931) http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-8762%28193104%2936%3A3%3C515%3AMTRC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-J
**Hampson, N. “Francois Chabot and His Plot.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th Ser., Vol. 26. (1976) http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0080-4401%281976%295%3A26%3C1%3AFCAHP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y
**Maslan, Susan. 2005. Revolutionary acts theater, democracy, and the French revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
**Thiers, Adolphe. 1838 The History of the French Revolution. London: R. Bentley.

External links

* [http://www.royet.org/nea1789-1794/archives/science-art-culture/sciences_fabre_calendrier_1793_10_24.htm Fabre d’Églantine: "Rapport sur le calendrier révolutionnaire" (in French)]
* [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033524/Philippe-Fabre-dEglantine Encyclopaedia Britannica, Philippe Fabre d'Eglantine]


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  • Fabre d'Eglantine — Fabre d’Églantine, mit bürgerlichem Namen Philippe François Nazaire Fabre (* 29. Juli 1750 in Carcassonne; † 5. April 1794 in Paris), war ein französischer Dichter, Schauspieler, Dramaturg und Revolutionär. Leben Er war zunächst Rechtsanwalt in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fabre d'Églantine — Fabre d’Églantine, mit bürgerlichem Namen Philippe François Nazaire Fabre (* 29. Juli 1750 in Carcassonne; † 5. April 1794 in Paris), war ein französischer Dichter, Schauspieler, Dramaturg und Revolutionär. Leben Er war zunächst Rechtsanwalt in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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