1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Desforges, Pierre Jean Baptiste Choudard

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DESFORGES, PIERRE JEAN BAPTISTE CHOUDARD (1746–1806), French dramatist and man of letters, natural son of Dr Antoine Petit, was born in Paris on the 15th of September 1746. He was educated at the Collège Mazarin and the Collège de Beauvais, and at his father’s desire began the study of medicine. Dr Petit’s death left him dependent on his own resources, and after appearing on the stage of the Comédie Italienne in Paris he joined a troupe of wandering actors, whom he served in the capacity of playwright. He married an actress, and the two spent three years in St Petersburg, where they were well received. In 1782 he produced at the Comédie Italienne an adaptation of Fielding’s novel with the title Tom Jones à Londres. His first great success was achieved with L’Épreuve villageoise (1785) to the music of Grétry. La Femme jalouse, a five-act comedy in verse (1785), Joconde (1790) for the music of Louis Jaden, Les Époux divorcés (1799), a comedy, and other pieces followed. Desforges was one of the first to avail himself of the new facilities afforded under the Revolution for divorce and re-marriage. The curious record of his own early indiscretions in Le Poète, ou mémoires d’un homme de lettres écrits par lui-même (4 vols., 1798) is said to have been undertaken at the request of Madame Desforges. He died in Paris on the 13th of August 1806.