Born May 5, 1815, in Paris; died there Jan. 23, 1888. French playwright; member of the Académie Française (1880).
Labiche, the son of a rentier, graduated from the Higher School of Law. He made his literary debut in 1835, and his comedy A Basin of Water was staged in 1837. In 1839 he published the novel Sketches of Mores: Wanderings. Labiche wrote many of his numerous vaudevilles and farces with collaborators (E. Augier, A. Delacour, or E. Martin). The Italian Straw Hat was his first great success (1851). Another popular play was Le Voyage de M. Perrichon (1860).
His sharply critical plays present a lively portrayal of the characters of the limited, hypocritical, and calculating rentier class. Unexpected turns of plot, witty dialogue, and comic situations contributed to Labiche’s fame as the “king of vaudeville.” His best realistic comedies also became a part of the repertories of many of the world’s theaters. Labiche’s plays were produced in prerevolutionary Russia and are staged in Soviet times.
WORKSNouveau Théâtre choisi. [Paris, 1960.] (Bibliography.)
In Russian translation:
P’esy. Preface by V. Vladimirov. Moscow, 1959.
REFERENCESSoupault, P. Eugène Labiche, sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1945.
Labiche. Brussels, 1965. (Les Bibliographies du Centre National de Bibliographie: Mundaneum, 1965, no. 24a.)
M. A. GOL’DMAN