The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Kock, Charles Paul de

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KOCK, kōk, Charles Paul de, French novelist: b. Passy, France, 21 May 1794; d. Paris, 29 Aug. 1871. He was the son of a Dutch banker who was guillotined in 1794. At 15 he was placed in a banking-house, but presently took to writing, and his reputation was soon established by such works as ‘Georgette’ (1820); ‘Gustave, ou le mauvais Sujet’ (1821); ‘Mon Voisin Raymond’ (1822). The last is regarded as the typical romance of its kind. His scenes are cast in the lower ranks of middle-class life. His narrative is a constant succession of stirring incidents without catastrophe. The incidents are always gay and lively, frequently somewhat gross, but scarcely to the extent of indecency. The worst feature of Paul de Kock's works is his style, which is barely presentable, a fault evidently due to deficiency of education. This accounts for his popularity being greater abroad than at home, as the defects of style disappear in translation. Besides his novels, which are very numerous, he wrote several dramas, chiefly taken from them. Two complete English translations of his works have appeared in 1902 and 1903-04, respectively. Consult Trimm, ‘La Vie de Charles Paul de Kock’ (1873).