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Lagrange-Chancel

LAGRANGE-CHANCEL [CHANCEL], FRANCOIS JOSEPH (1677-1758), French dramatist and satirist, was born at Perigueux on the 1st of January 1677. He was an extremely precocious boy, and at Bordeaux, where he was educated, he produced a play when he was nine years old. Five years later his mother took him to Paris, where he found a patron in the princesse de Conti, to whom he dedicated his tragedy of Jugurtha or, as it was called later, Adherbal (1694). Racine had given him advice and was present at the first performance, although he had long lived in complete retirement. Other plays followed: Oreste et Pylade (1697), Meleagre (1699), Amasis (1701), and Ino et Melicefte (1715). Lagrange hardly realized the high hopes raised by his precocity, although his only serious rival on the tragic stage was Campistron, but he obtained high favour at court, becoming mattre d'hotel to the duchess of Orleans. This prosperity ended with the publication in 1720 of his Philippiques, odes accusing the regent, Philip, duke of Orleans, of the most odious crimes. He might have escaped the consequences of this libel but for the bitter enmity of a former patron, the due de La Force. Lagrange found sanctuary at Avignon, but was enticed beyond the boundary of the papal jurisdiction, when he was arrested and sent as a prisoner to the isles of Sainte Marguerite. He contrived, however, to escape to Sardinia and thence to Spain and Holland, where he produced his fourth and fifth Philippiques. On the death of the Regent he was able to return to France. He was part author of a Histoire de Perigord left unfinished, and made a further contribution to history, or perhaps, more exactly, to romance, in a letter to filie Freron on the identity of the Man with the Iron Mask. Lagrange's family life was embittered by a long lawsuit against his son. He died at Perigueux at the end of December 1758.

He had collected his own works (5 vols., 1758) some months before his death. His most famous work, the Philippiques, was edited by M. de Lescure in 1858, and a sixth philippic by M. Diancourt in 1886.

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

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