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Dufresny, Charles

DUFRESNY, CHARLES, Sieur de la Rivière (1648-1724), French dramatist, was born in Paris in 1648. The allegation that his grandfather was an illegitimate son of Henry IV. procured him the liberal patronage of Louis XIV., who gave him the post of valet de chambre, and affixed his name to many lucrative privileges. Dufresny's expensive habits neutralized all efforts to enrich him, and as if to furnish a piquant commentary on the proverb that poverty makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows, he married, as his second wife, a washerwoman, in discharge of her bill - a whimsicality which supplied Le Sage with an episode in the Diable boiteux, and was made the subject of a comedy by J.M. Deschamps (Charles Rivière Dufresny, ou le mariage impromptu). He died in Paris on the 6th of October 1724. His plays, destitute for the most part of all higher qualities, abound in sprightly wit and pithy sayings. In the six volumes of his Théâtre (Paris, 1731), some of the best are L'Esprit de contradiction (1700), Le Double Veuvage (1701), La Joueuse (1709), La Coquette de village (1715), La Réconciliation normande (1719) and Le Mariage fait et rompu (1721). A volume of Poésies diverses, two volumes of Nouvelles historiques (1692), and Les Amusements sérieux et comiques d'un Siamois (1705), a work to which Montesquieu was indebted for the idea of his Lettres persanes, complete the list of Dufresny's writings. The best edition of his works is that of 1747 (4 vols.). His Théâtre was edited (1882) by Georges d'Heylli.

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

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