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Pierre Corneille

Pierre Corneille (6 June 1606 – 1 October 1684) was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called the founder of French tragedy. In 1637, he wrote his masterpiece Le Cid (Al Sayyid in Arabic, which roughly means The Lord), which is based on the play Mocedades del Cid (1621) by Guillem de Castro. The publication gave rise to heated arguments about the rules of tragedies (in terms of time, place and action). The immediately following tragedies respected these (Horace (1640), Cinna (1643), Polyeucte. These three plays and Le Cid are collectively known as Corneille's Classical Tetralogy.

After a break from the theater, he returned in 1640, but his later plays did not achieve as much popularity as before. Audiences and critics alike preferred young playwrights like Racine. He continued producing plays until 1674. To this period his collaborative piece with Molière (Psyché, 1671). He died in 1684 at his home at the age of 78.

Random Quote/Passage:

La valeur de son père, en son temps sans pareille,
tant qu’a duré sa force, a passé pour merveille ;
ses rides sur son front ont gravé ses exploits,
et nous disent encor ce qu’il fut autrefois."

"Elvira : The valor of his father, in his time without an equal, as long as his strength endured, was considered a marvel; the furrows on his brow bear witness to [lit. have engraved his] exploits, and tell us still what he formerly was."
Le Cid - Pierre Corneille

Available Titles in French - English Bilingual Edition (Project Bilingual)

Le Cid

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