1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hervieu, Paul

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HERVIEU, PAUL (1857-       ), French dramatist and novelist, was born at Neuilly (Seine) on the 2nd of November 1857. He was called to the bar in 1877, and, after serving some time in the office of the president of the council, he qualified for the diplomatic service, but resigned on his nomination in 1881 to a secretaryship in the French legation in Mexico. He contributed novels, tales and essays to the chief Parisian papers and reviews, and published a series of clever novels, including L'Inconnu (1887), Flirt( 1890), L'Exorcisée (1891), Peints par eux-mêmes (1893), an ironical study written in the form of letters, and L'Armature (1895), dramatized in 1905 by Eugène Brieux. But his most important work consists of a series of plays: Les Paroles restent (Vaudeville, 17th of November 1892); Les Tenailles (Théâtre Français, 28th of September 1895); La Loi de l'homme (Théâtre Français, 15th of February 1897); La Course du flambeau (Vaudeville, 17th of April 1901); Point de lendemain (Odéon, 18th of October 1901), a dramatic version of a story by Vivaut Denon; L'Énigme (Théâtre Français, 5th of November 1901); Théroigne de Méricourt (Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, 23rd of September 1902); Le Dédale (Théâtre Français, 19th of December 1903), and Le Réveil (Théâtre Français, 18th of December 1905). These plays are built upon a severely logical method, the mechanism of which is sometimes so evident as to destroy the necessary sense of illusion. The closing words of La Course du flambeau — “Pour ma fille, j'ai tué ma mère” — are an example of his selection of a plot representing an extreme theory. The riddle in L'Éngime (staged at Wyndham's Theatre, London, March 1st 1902, as Caesar's Wife) is, however, worked out with great art, and Le Dédale, dealing with the obstacles to the remarriage of a divorced woman, is reckoned among the masterpieces of the modern French stage. He was elected to the French Academy in 1900.

See A. Binet, in L'Année psychologique, vol. x. Hervieu's Théâtre was published by Lemerre (3 vols., 1900-1904).