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by PIERRE CORNEILLE
Translated by Thomas Constable
Pierre Corneille was born in Rouen in 1606, the son of an official;
was educated by the Jesuits, and practised unsuccessfully as a lawyer.
His dramatic career began with the comedy of "Melite," but it was by
his "Medee" that he first proved his tragic genius. "The Cid" appeared
in 1636, and a series of masterpieces followed--"Horace," "Cinna,"
"Polyeucte," "Le Menteur." After a failure in "Pertharite" he retired
from the stage, deeply hurt by the disapproval of his audience. Six
years later he resumed play writing with "OEdipe" and continued till
1674, producing in all some thirty plays. Though he earned a great
reputation, he was poorly paid; and a proud and sensitive nature laid
him open to considerable suffering. He died in 1684.
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