Victorien Sardou

Victorien Sardou
Sardou in 1880
Sardou in 1880
Born(1831-09-05)5 September 1831
Died8 November 1908(1908-11-08) (aged 77)
OccupationPlaywright
NationalityFrench
Period19th-century
GenreWell-made play

Victorien Sardou (/ DOO, French: [viktɔʁjɛ̃ saʁdu]; 5 September 1831 – 8 November 1908) was a French dramatist.[1] He is best remembered today for his development, along with Eugène Scribe, of the well-made play.[2] He also wrote several plays that were made into popular 19th-century operas such as La Tosca (1887) on which Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca (1900) is based, and Fédora (1882) and Madame Sans-Gêne (1893) that provided the subjects for the lyrical dramas Fedora (1898) and Madame Sans-Gêne (1915) by Umberto Giordano.

Early years

Commemorative plaque at the house in the 4th arrondissement, where Sardou was born

Victorien was born in rue Beautreillis (pronounced [ʁy bo.tʁɛ.ji]), Paris on 5 September 1831. The Sardous were settled at Le Cannet, a village near Cannes, where they owned an estate, planted with olive trees. A night's frost killed all the trees and the family was ruined. Victorien's father, Antoine Léandre Sardou, came to Paris in search of employment. He was in succession a book-keeper at a commercial establishment, a professor of book-keeping, the head of a provincial school, then a private tutor and a schoolmaster in Paris, besides editing grammars, dictionaries and treatises on various subjects. With all these occupations, he hardly succeeded in making a livelihood, and when he retired to his native country, Victorien was left on his own resources. He had begun studying medicine, but had to desist for want of funds. He taught French to foreign pupils: he also gave lessons in Latin, history and mathematics to students, and wrote articles for cheap encyclopaedias.[3]

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