(stage name of Claire Josèphe Hippolyte Léris de la Tude). Born Jan. 21, 1723, in Condé; died Jan. 29 (31?), 1803, in Paris. French actress.
In 1736, Clairon made her stage debut at the Comédie Italienne in Paris. From 1737 to 1743 she performed in Rouen, Lille, and other cities. In 1743 she joined the Comédie Française and was there until 1766. Her performances in the tragedies of Voltaire—as Electra (Oreste), Idame (The Chinese Orphan), and Amenaïde (Tancrède)—brought her fame.
Following the theatrical theories of Diderot and working under the guidance of Voltaire, Clairon became one of the outstanding actresses of Enlightenment classicism. She opposed the affected manners of the aristocratic theater and presented psychologically individual portrayals. She reformed tragic declamation by refusing to make intonation conform to an arbitrary melodic pattern, and she introduced historical and ethnographic elements into stage costumes. Diderot rated Clairon’s work highly and analyzed her art in “A Paradox About the Actor.”
WORKSMemories d’Hippolyte Clairon et réflexions sur l’art dramatique. Paris  1799.
REFERENCESIstoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 2. Editor in chief, S. S. Mokul’-skii. Moscow, 1957.
Goncourt, E., Mademoiselle Clairon. Paris, 1890.
E. L. FINKEL’SHTEIN