1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Geoffroy, Julien Louis

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GEOFFROY, JULIEN LOUIS (1743–1814), French critic, was born at Rennes in 1743. He studied in the school of his native town and at the Collège Louis le Grand in Paris. He took orders and fulfilled for some time the humble functions of an usher, eventually becoming professor of rhetoric at the Collège Mazarin. A bad tragedy, Caton, was accepted at the Théâtre Français, but was never acted. On the death of Élie Fréron in 1776 the other collaborators in the Année littéraire asked Geoffroy to succeed him, and he conducted the journal until in 1792 it ceased to appear. Geoffroy was a bitter critic of Voltaire and his followers, and made for himself many enemies. An enthusiastic royalist, he published with Fréron’s brother-in-law, the abbé Thomas Royou (1741–1792), a journal, L’Ami du roi (1790–1792), which possibly did more harm than good to the king’s cause by its ill-advised partisanship. During the Terror Geoffroy hid in the neighbourhood of Paris, only returning in 1799. An attempt to revive the Année littéraire failed, and Geoffroy undertook the dramatic feuilleton of the Journal des débats. His scathing criticisms had a success of notoriety, but their popularity was ephemeral, and the publication of them (5 vols., 1819–1820) as Cours de littérature dramatique proved a failure. He was also the author of a perfunctory Commentaire on the works of Racine prefixed to Lenormant’s edition (1808). He died in Paris on the 27th of February 1814.