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Latouche, Hyacinthe Joseph Alexandre Thabaud De

LATOUCHE, HYACINTHE JOSEPH ALEXANDRE THABAUD DE [known as HENRI] (1785-1851), French poet and novelist, was born at La Chatre (Indre) on the 2nd of February 1785. Among his works may be distinguished his comedies: Projets de sagesse (1811), and, in collaboration with fimile Deschamps, Selmours de Florian (1818), which ran for a hundred nights; also La Reine d'Espagne (1831), which proved too indecent for the public taste; a novel, Fragoletta: Naples et Paris en J/pp (1829), which attained a success of notoriety; La Vallee aux coups (1833), a volume of prose essays and verse; and two volumes of poems, Les Adieux (1843) and Les Agrestes (1844). Latouche's chief claim to remembrance is that he revealed to the world the genius of Andre Chenier, then only known to a limited few. The remains of the poet's work had passed from the hands of Daunou to Latouche, who had sufficient critical insight instantly to recognize their value. In editing the first selection of Chenier's poems (1819) he made some trifling emendations, but did not, as Beranger afterwards asserted, make radical and unnecessary changes. Latouche was guilty of more than one literary fraud. He caused a licentious story of his own to be attributed to the duchesse de Duras, the irreproachable author of Ourika. He made many enemies by malicious attacks on his contemporaries. The Conslitulionnel was suppressed in 1817 by the government for an obscure political allusion in an article by Latouche. He then undertook the management of the Mercure du XIX' slide, and began a bitter warfare against the monarchy. After 1830 he edited the Figaro, and spared neither the liberal politicians nor the romanticists who triumphed under the monarchy of July. In his turn he was violently attacked by Gustave Planche in the Revue des deux mondes for November 1831. But it must be remembered to the credit of Latouche that he did much to encourage George Sand at the beginning of her career. The last twenty years of his life were spent in retirement at Aulnay, where he died on the gth of March 1851.

Sainte-Beuve, in the Causeries du lundi, vol. 3, gives a not too sympathetic portrait of Latouche. See also George Sand in the Siecle for the 18th, igth and 2Oth of July 1851.

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

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