1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gyp
GYP, the pen name of Sibylle Gabrielle Marie Antoinette Riqueti de Mirabeau, Comtesse de Martel de Janville (1850– ) French writer, who was born at the château of Koetsal in the Morbihan. Her father, who was the grandson of the vicomte de Mirabeau and great-nephew of the orator, served in the Papal Zouaves, and died during the campaign of 1860. Her mother, the comtesse de Mirabeau, in addition to some graver compositions, contributed to the Figaro and the Vie parisienne, under various pseudonyms, papers in the manner successfully developed by her daughter. Under the pseudonym of “Gyp” Madame de Martel, who was married in 1869, sent to the Vie parisienne, and later to the Revue des deux mondes, a large number of social sketches and dialogues, afterwards reprinted in volumes. Her later work includes stories of a more formal sort, essentially differing but little from the shorter studies. The following list includes some of the best known of Madame de Martel’s publications, nearly seventy in number: Petit Bob (1882); Autour du mariage (1883); Ce que femme veut (1883); Le Monde à côté (1884), Sans voiles (1885); Autour du divorce (1886); Dans le train (1886); Mademoiselle Loulou (1888); Bob au salon (1888–1889); L’Education d’un prince (1890); Passionette (1891); Ohé! la grande vie (1891); Une Élection à Tigre-sur-mer (1890), an account of “Gyp’s” experiences in support of a Boulangist candidate; Mariage civil (1892); Ces bons docteurs (1892); Du haut en bas (1893); Mariage de chiffon (1894); Leurs âmes (1895); Le Cœur d’Ariane (1895); Le Bonheur de Ginette (1896); Totote (1897); Lune de miel (1898); Israël (1898); L’Entrevue (1899); Le Pays des champs (1900); Trop de chic (1900); Le Friquet (1901); La Fée (1902); Un Mariage chic (1903); Un Ménage dernier cri (1903); Maman (1904); Le Cœur de Pierrette (1905). From the first “Gyp,” writing of a society to which she belonged, displayed all the qualities which have given her a distinct, if not pre-eminent, position among writers of her class. Those qualities included an intense faculty of observation, much skill in innuendo, a mordant wit combined with some breadth of humour, and a singular power of animating ordinary dialogues without destroying the appearance of reality. Her Parisian types of the spoiled child, of the precocious schoolgirl, of the young bride, and of various masculine figures in the gay world, have become almost classical, and may probably survive as faithful pictures of luxurious manners in the 19th century. Some later productions, inspired by a violent anti-Semitic and Nationalist bias, deserve little consideration. An earlier attempt to dramatize Autour du mariage was a failure, not owing to the audacities which it shares with most of its author’s works, but from lack of cohesion and incident. More successful was Mademoiselle Ève (1895), but indeed “Gyp’s” successes are all achieved without a trace of dramatic faculty. In 1901 Madame de Martel furnished a sensational incident in the Nationalist campaign during the municipal elections in Paris. She was said to have been the victim of a kidnapping outrage or piece of horseplay provoked by her political attitude, but though a most circumstantial account of the outrages committed on her and of her adventurous escape was published, the affair was never clearly explained or verified.