Campistron, Jean Galbert De
CAMPISTRON, JEAN GALBERT DE (1656-1723), French dramatist, was born at Toulouse of noble family in 1656. At the age of seventeen he was wounded in a duel and sent to Paris. Here he became an ardent disciple of Racine. If he copied his master's methods of construction with some success, in the execution of his plans he never advanced beyond mediocrity, nor did he ever approach the secret of the musical lines of Athalie and Phèdre. He secured the patronage of the influential duchesse de Bouillon by dedicating Arminius to her, and in 1685 he scored his first success with Andronic, which disguised under other names the tragic story of Don Carlos and Elizabeth of France. The piece made a great sensation, but Campistron's treatment is weak, and he failed to avail himself of the possibilities inherent in his subject. Racine was asked by Louis Joseph, duc de Vendôme, to write the book of an opera to be performed at a fete given in honour of the Dauphin. He handed on the commission to Campistron, who produced Acis et Galathée for Lulli's music. Campistron had another success in Tiridate (1691), in which he treated, again under changed names, the biblical story of Amnon's passion for his sister Tamar. He wrote many other tragedies and two comedies, one of which, Le Jaloux désabusé, has been considered by some judges to be his best work. In 1686 he had been made intendant to the duc de Vendôme and followed him to Italy and Spain, accompanying him on all his campaigns. If he was not a good poet he was an honest man under circumstances in which corruption was easy and usual. Many honours were conferred on him. The king of Spain bestowed on him the order of St James of the Sword; the duke of Mantua made him marquis of Penango in Montferrat; and in 1701 he was received into the Academy. After thirty years of service with Vendôme he retired to his native place, where he died on the 11th of May 1723.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)