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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
André Theuriet (1833–1907)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
IN 1857 a poem by a new hand appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes. ‘In Memoriam’ was a romance in verse, and it showed the qualities which distinguish all its author’s prose and poetry.  1
  André Theuriet was born at Marly-le-Roi in 1833, and passed his school days at Bar-le-Duc. Later he studied law in Paris, and then accepted a position in the Treasury Department.  2
  Theuriet began his literary career with poems; but he had also been popular as a writer of stories, and had been a well-known contributor of both to many Paris journals; among them L’Illustration, Le Moniteur, Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, and the Revue des Deux Mondes.  3
  His poems were first collected in 1867, when he published them in a volume entitled ‘Chemin du Bois,’ which had the honor of being crowned by the French Academy. After that time he published several more volumes of poems. Both in verse and prose Theuriet excels in delicate depiction of country life and of nature, and in his sympathetic analysis of beauty.  4
  André Theuriet also attempted drama; and in 1871 his ‘Jean Marie,’ a one-act play, was given with success at the Odéon. His last play was ‘Jours d’été’ (1901).  5
  Theuriet wrote a large number of novels and short stories, and many of these have been translated into English. Among the best known are ‘The Maugars,’ ‘Angela’s Fortune,’ ‘The House of the Two Barbels,’ ‘Madame Heurteloup,’ ‘Stories of Every-day Life,’ ‘The Foster Sister,’ and ‘Godson of a Marquis’; their greatest charm is the quiet simplicity with which the characters are drawn. “Theuriet is certainly,” said Jules Lemaître, “the best, most cordial, and most accurate painter of our little French bourgeoisie, half peasant in nature and half townsfolk.”  6
  He had a gentleness of spirit which makes him more alive to the pathetic than to the tragic. He was more tender than strong. So both in his dainty and musical poems, and his graceful prose, he pleases by his calm and discriminating exposition of the life he studies rather than by emotional force. He was elected to the Academy in 1896, and died in 1907.  7
 
 
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