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Deroulede, Paul

DEROULEDE, PAUL (1846- ), French author and politician, was born in Paris on the 2nd of September 1846. He made his first appearance as a poet in the pages of the Revue nationale, under the pseudonym of Jean Rebel, and in 1869 produced at the Théâtre Français a one-act drama in verse entitled Juan Strenner. On the outbreak of the Franco-German War he enlisted as a private, was wounded and taken prisoner at Sedan, and sent to Breslau, but effected his escape. He then served under Chanzy and Bourbaki, took part in the latter's disastrous retreat to Switzerland, and fought against the Commune in Paris. After attaining the rank of lieutenant, he was forced by an accident to retire from the army. He published in 1872 a number of patriotic poems (Chants du soldat), which enjoyed unbounded popularity. This was followed in 1875 by another collection, Nouveaux Chants du soldat. In 1877 he produced a drama in verse called L'Hetman, which derived a passing success from the patriotic fervour of its sentiments. For the exhibition of 1878 he wrote a hymn, Vive la France, which was set to music by Gounod. In 1880 his drama in verse, La Moäbite, which had been accepted by the Théâtre Français, was forbidden by the censor on religious grounds. In 1882 M. Déroulède founded the Ligue des patriotes, with the object of furthering France's "revanche" against Germany. He was one of the first advocates of a Franco-Russian alliance, and as early as 1883 undertook a journey to Russia for the furtherance of that object. On the rise of General Boulanger, M. Déroulède attempted to use the Ligue des patriotes, hitherto a non-political organization, to assist his cause, but was deserted by a great part of the league and forced to resign his presidency. Nevertheless he used the section that remained faithful to him with such effect that the government found it necessary in 1889 to decree its suppression. In the same year he was elected to the chamber as member for Angoulême. He was expelled from the chamber in 1890 for his disorderly interruptions during debate. He did not stand at the elections of 1893, but was re-elected in 1898, and distinguished himself by his violence as a nationalist and anti-Dreyfusard. After the funeral of President Faure, on the 23rd of February 1899, he endeavoured to persuade General Roget to lead his troops upon the Elysée. For this he was arrested, but on being tried for treason was acquitted (May 31). On the 12th of August he was again arrested and accused, together with André Buffet, Jules Guérin and others, of conspiracy against the republic. After a long trial before the high court, he was sentenced, on the 4th of January 1900, to ten years' banishment from France, and retired to San Sebastian. In 1901, he was again brought prominently before the public by a quarrel with his Royalist allies, which resulted in an abortive attempt to arrange a duel with M. Buffet in Switzerland. In November 1905, however, the law of amnesty enabled him to return to France.

Besides the works already mentioned, he published Le Sergent, in the Theâtre de campagne (1880); De l'éducation nationale (1882); Monsieur le Uhlan et les trois couleurs (1884); Le Premier grenadier de France; La Tour d'Auvergne (1886); Le Livre de la ligue des patriotes (1887); Refrains militaires (1888); Histoire d'amour (1890); a pamphlet entitled Désarmement? (1891); Chants du paysan (1894); Poésies Militaires (1896) and Messire du Guesclin, drame en vers (1895); La mort de Hoche. Cinq actes en prose (1897); La Plus belle fille du monde, conte dialogué en vers libres (1898).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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