Augustin Eugène Scribe

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As the first and only collaboration between two giants in the opera milieu, Rossini and the librettist Eugene Scribe, Le comte Ory was an intriguing departure from the works presented on the stage of the Paris Opera during the period: it is short (only two acts), comic, with musical roots in Italian opera, and a textual background in vaudeville.
The libretto by Eugene Scribe also is at its clumsiest in the early going.
Fromental Halevy's five-act opera La Juive to a libretto by Eugene Scribe enjoyed enormous success following its premiere at the Paris Opera in 1835.
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.
Written in 1894, "Arms and the Man" slyly subverts the conventions of 19th-century melodrama, even as it draws on them for the mechanics of its plotting (Eric Bentley traces the source to a play by Eugene Scribe).
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. Seventy-four framed visual pieces are also part of the archive, including French opera posters by Jules Cheret and the Imprimerie Chaix from the 1860s through the 1880s, and a major collection of Andre Gill caricatures of theater and musical personalities of Paris in the 1860s and 1870s.
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.
He goes too far, however, when he claims that Meyerbeer's and Eugene Scribe's revisions shortly before the premiere were determined by contemporaneous events and a desire to reflect the concerns of the proletariat.