1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arnault, Antoine Vincent

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ARNAULT, ANTOINE VINCENT (1766-1834), French dramatist, was born in Paris in January 1766. His first play, Marius à Minturnes (1791), immediately established his reputation. A year later he followed up his first success with a second republican tragedy, Lucrèce. He left France during the Terror and on his return was arrested by the revolutionary authorities, but was liberated through the intervention of Fabre d’Eglantine and others. He was commissioned by Bonaparte in 1797 with the reorganization of the Ionian Islands, and was nominated to the Institute and made secretary general of the university. He was faithful to his patron through his misfortunes, and after the Hundred Days remained in exile until 1819. In 1829 he was re-elected to the Academy and became perpetual secretary in 1833. Others of his plays are Blanche et Montcassin, ou les Vénitiens (1798); and Germanicus (1816), the performance of which was the occasion of a disturbance in the parterre which threatened serious political complications. His tragedies are perhaps less known now than his Fables (1813, 1815 and 1826), which are written in very graceful verse. Arnault collaborated in a Vie politique et militaire de Napoléon (1822), and wrote some very interesting Souvenirs d’un sexagénaire (1833), which contain much out-of-the-way information about the history of the years previous to 1804. Arnault died at Goderville on the 16th of September 1834.

His eldest son, Émilien Lucien (1787-1863), wrote several tragedies, the leading rôles in which were interpreted by Talma.

See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. 7. Arnault’s Œuvres complètes (4 vols.) were published at the Hague and Paris in 1818-1819 and again (8 vols.) at Paris in 1824.