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Desaugiers, Marc Antoine Madeleine

DESAUGIERS, MARC ANTOINE MADELEINE (1772-1827), French dramatist and song-writer, son of Marc Antoine Désaugiers, a musical composer, was born at Fréjus (Var) on the 17th of November 1772. He studied at the Mazarin college in Paris, where he had for one of his teachers the critic Julien Louis Geoffroy. He entered the seminary Saint Lazare with a view to the priesthood, but soon gave up his intention. In his nineteenth year he produced in collaboration with his father a light opera (1791) adapted from the Médecin malgré lui of Molière.

During the Revolution he emigrated to St Domingo, and during the negro revolt he was made prisoner, barely escaping with his life. He took refuge in the United States, where he supported himself by teaching the piano. In 1797 he returned to his native country, and in a very few years he became famous as a writer of comedies, operas and vaudevilles, which were produced in rapid succession at the Théâtre des Variétés and the Vaudeville. He also wrote convivial and satirical songs, which, though different in character, can only worthily be compared with those of Béranger. He was at one time president of the Caveau, a convivial society whose members were then chiefly drawn from literary circles. He had the honour of introducing Béranger as a member. In 1815 Désaugiers succeeded Pierre Yves Barré as manager of the Vaudeville, which prospered under his management until, in 1820, the opposition of the Gymnase proved too strong for him, and he resigned. He died in Paris on the 9th of August 1827.

Among his pieces maybe mentioned Le Valet d'emprunt (1807); Monsieur Vautour (1811); and Le Règne d'un terme et le terme d'un règne, aimed at Napoleon.

An edition of Désaugiers' Chansons et Poésies diverses appeared in 1827. A new selection with a notice by Alfred de Bougy appeared in 1858. See also Sainte-Beuve's Portraits contemporains, vol. v.

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

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