Augustin Eugène Scribe

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Scribe, Augustin Eugène


Born Dec. 25, 1791, in Paris; died there Feb. 21, 1861. French playwright. Member of the Académie Française (1834).

Scribe’s plays, which number approximately 150, made up the basic comedic repertoire of the 19th-century French theater. His witty and mockingly humorous vaudevilles and comedies are characterized by artfully constructed plots and lively dialogue. Praising common sense, practicality, and bourgeois virtues, they appealed to bourgeois audiences, who were touched by the “office heroism and the poetry of the shop” and who recognized “themselves and their ideals in Scribe’s heroes” (A. I. Herzen, Sobr. soch, vol. 5, 1955, p. 34). The plays Le Manage d’argent (1827), Le Mariage de raison (1828), and Une Chaî ne (1841) are typical examples. Despite Scribe’s conservative social views, his best plays are topical and bitingly satirical, for example, La Camaraderie ou la courte-échelle (1837). Some plays, for example, Le Verre d’eau (1840) and Adrienne Lecouvreur (1849), are loosely based on historical events.

Scribe wrote most of his plays in collaboration with other playwrights, including G. Delavigne, E. Legouvé, and E. Mazères. He wrote librettos for operas by G. Meyerbeer, D. F. E. Auber, J. Halévy, and other composers. He also wrote prose works. Approximately 130 of Scribe’s plays and approximately 20 of his opera librettos have been translated into Russian. Prominent Russian and Soviet actors have performed in Scribe’s plays, which have been well known in Russia since the 1820’s.


Oeuvres complètes [vols. 1–76). Paris, 1874–85.
In Russian translation:
P’esy. Moscow, 1960.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956.
Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 3. Moscow, 1963.
Lunacharskii, A. V.“Skrib i skribizm.” Sobr. soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1965.
Arvin, N. C. E. Scribe and the French Theatre, 1815–1860. Cambridge [1968].
Cardwell, W. D. The Dramaturgy of E. Scribe (dissertation). New Haven, Conn., 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
The libretto by Eugene Scribe also is at its clumsiest in the early going.
Eugene Scribe had a formula and wrote more hits than virtually any other playwright in history.
He was the hugely successful Eugene Scribe who first offered his new scenario 'Rachel ou L'auto-da-fe' to Meyerbeer who was still working on another of Scribe's popular stories of religious intolerance, Les Huguenots.
In addition to scores, the archive contains commercial opera recordings and tape recordings of live opera performances, opera reference materials, and a significant section containing librettos and French livrets, including several volumes of the works of Eugene Scribe.
She gives a strong sense of Halevy's own character, his relationships with his teacher and father substitute Luigi Cherubini and his collaborator Eugene Scribe, and his interactions with a young, revering Richard Wagner.
The technical formula of the well-made play, developed about 1825 by the French playwright Eugene Scribe, called for complex and highly artificial plotting, a build-up of suspense, a climactic scene in which all problems are resolved, and a happy ending.
The collaboration between Daniel-Francois Esprit Auber, Eugene Scribe, Germain Delavigne, and the artistic skills of the Acadamie royale de musique was the first of its kind.