Jean Anouilh

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Anouilh, Jean

(zhäN änwē`yə), 1910–87, French dramatist. Anouilh's many popular plays range from tragedy to sophisticated comedy. His first play, L'hermine, was published in 1932. During the Nazi regime he wrote plays about resistance to oppression in terms of subjects from classical mythology; Antigone (1944, tr. 1946) is the most celebrated of these. Several of his later plays have contemporary and historical settings. Anouilh's works frequently contrast the worlds of romantic dreams and harsh reality. He has also written film scripts, one of which, Little Molière (1959) was successfully produced as a play. His later plays include The Waltz of the Toreadors (1952, tr. 1957), Poor Bitos (1958, tr. 1964), The Lark (1953, tr. 1955), Becket (1959, tr. 1960), The Rehearsal (1963), Dear Antoine (1969, tr. 1971), and The Navel (1981).


See studies by J. Harvey (1964), E. O. Marsh (1968), M. Archer (1971), B. A. Lenski (1973), H. G. McIntyre (1981), and C. N. Smith (1985).

Anouilh, Jean


Born June 23, 1910, in Bordeaux. French playwright.

After forgoing his law studies, Anouilh published his first plays The Ermine (1934), Traveler Without Luggage (1937), and The Savage (1938). Constructed on the noble hero’s moral conflict with falsehood and cruelty, these early plays have an intimate quality. Anouilh later united them into the cycle “black plays.” The “new black plays” (1946) include tragedies based on subjects from the Bible (Jezebel), Shakespeare (Romeo and Jeannette), and antiquity (Medea and Antigone). Anouilh’s heroes reject compromise in the name of an ethical principle and perish, as for example in Antigone (staged, 1943; published, 1944). This idea in the plays of the 1940’s bears the quality of despair and is expressed in the spirit of existentialism. The “black plays” include the cycle “costume plays” (1960). These comprise the historical dramas The Lark (1953), in which the national heroine Joan of Arc asserts her human dignity through saving the people of France from enslavement, and Becket, or the Honor of God (1959).

Anouilh’s ironically lyrical plays are united into the cycle “pink plays” (1942), which include Dinner in Senlis, Léocadia, and others, and the cycle “brilliant plays,” which include Cecile, or a Lesson to Fathers (1951) and other plays. The heroes of these plays find happiness by isolating themselves from the world of suffering and cruelty; however, the conventional theatricality of these comedies underscores the illusoriness of such happiness. Anouilh’s satirical comedies are combined in the cycle “thorny plays” (1956). The cycle includes the plays Ornifle, or the Draft and Poor Bitos, in which the character of Robespierre is tendentiously parodied and the thought is expressed that any violence is evil. Variety and novelty of plot, free and easy dialogue, action, emotionality, and humor are all attributes of the bright theatricality of Anouilh’s plays.


Théâtre complet, vols. 1–6. Paris, 1962.
La foire d’empoigne. Paris, 1961.
In Russian translation:
P’esy, vols. 1–2. Afterword by L. Zonina. Moscow, 1969.


Zonina, L. “Zhan Anuil.” In Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia drama. Moscow, 1962.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Luppé, R. de. Jean Anouilh. Paris, [1959].
Borgal, C. Anouilh: la peine de vivre. [Paris,] 1966. (Contains a bibliography.)
References in periodicals archive ?
A traves de esta metafora, la Antigona de Sofocles reconoce el poder de Creonte, aun siendo participe de su destino; el Creonte de Jean Anouilh admite legitimamente a Antigona como su adversario y se averguenza de sus actos.
Adaptation of Antigone by Jean Anouilh and Sophocles, by Harold Zuniga and Ingrid Lopez.
Se demuestra asi la invaluable participacion de Frois en el ambito teatral, al que tambien hay que agregar su gestion en los derechos de autor para Antigona de Jean Anouilh y de Montserrat de Emmanuel Robles y, por ultimo, su trabajo como traductor de La loca de Chaillot de Giradoux.
It was coined by Frenchman Jean Anouilh for a performance where the real world is seen in fantasy and grotesque humour.
Among the writers celebrated most frequently in the pages of La Gerbe are Charles Peguy, Jean Giono, Henry de Montherlant, Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Louis-Ferdinand Ce1ine, Jean Anouilh, and Marcel Ayme.
Twentieth century playwrights have adapted the story to their own settings and purposes, among them, Jean Anouilh and Tennessee Williams.
Shaw 's Saint Joan (1923) and Jean Anouilh 's L ' Alouette (1953; translated as by Christopher Fry as The Lark, 1955).
to the recent revisions of Bertolt Brecht, Jean Anouilh, Athol Fugard and Kemal Demiral, among others.
Viajero sin equipaje--segun el grupo que ahora representa esta pieza--es un "melodrama comico apto para adolescentes y adultos", que ofrece una buena oportunidad para conocer y replantearse a este dramaturgo polemico, proximo a cumplir diez anos de fallecido en 2013 Escrita en 1993, Viajero sin equipaje (titulo que ya habia sido utilizado por el dramaturgo frances Jean Anouilh, en 1937), contempla la interaccion entre la burocracia y las relaciones humanas, para exteriorizar su discurso y anecdota en una reflexion sobre el sentido de la vida y la muerte.
Ulalume estudio letras en la Sorbona, se intereso en el teatro, participo en Poesia en voz alta; en la Antigona de Jean Anouilh represento al personaje de la Nodriza.
STRATFORD, Canada A Stratford Festival production of a play in two acts by Jean Anouilh, adapted by Lillian Hellman.
She plays the title role in a modern version of Sophocles Antigone by popular French writer Jean Anouilh.