The New International Encyclopædia/Kock, Paul de

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KOCK, kṓk, Paul de (1794-1871). A popular French novelist, son of a Dutch banker who was guillotined in the year of his son's birth. Kock, born at Passy, May 21, 1794, began life as a banker's clerk, but at twenty he entered upon the publication of melodramas and farces, from which he turned in Georgette (1820) to fiction, and achieved in Gustave le mauvais sujet (1821) a success which he extended in Frère Jacques (1822). Le Barbier de Paris (1826; translated into many languages); André le Savoyard (1824); and La laitière de Montfermeil (1827); Monsieur Dupont (1825); Un Tourlouron (1837); La femme, le mari et l'amant (1829); Le cocu (1813); La pucelle de Belleville (1834), are typical of his work. Le monsieur (1842) marks the beginning of his decline. Having written about one hundred volumes, he died in Paris, August 29, 1871. Though Kock tried a few historical romances, his books deal with the social sphere of shopgirls and clerks, and the democratic bourgeoisie. The stories are full of observation at first hand and of spicy humor. They are rather vulgar, but not immoral, demanding no literary training and gratifying no delicate taste. They were extraordinarily popular. Paul de Kock is seldom mentioned in the more conventional French histories of French literature. A 56-volume edition of his works came out in 1884. He has had imitators, among them his son Henri (1819-92), but no successor. An English translation was begun in 1903. Consult Trimm, La vie de Charles Paul de Kock (Paris, 1873).