Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de

Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de

(pyĕr` kärlā` də shäNblē` də märēvō`), 1688–1763, French dramatist and novelist. He enjoyed popularity for a time with his numerous comedies, including Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard (1730, tr. Love in Livery) and Le Legs (1736, tr. The Legacy, 1915), which analyze the sentiments and complications of love in a graceful, though often precious, style. The term marivaudage was thenceforth applied to his brand of artificiality. He also wrote two unfinished novels of middle-class life, La Vie de Marianne (1731–41) and Le Paysan parvenu (1735–36), which are important early examples of the genre.


See G. Poe, The Rococo and Eighteenth-Century Theater (1987); R. C. Rosbottom, Marivaux's Novels (1975).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de


Born Feb. 4, 1688, in Paris; died there Feb. 12, 1763. French writer, member of the French Academy (1742). Son of a provincial official. Studied law.

Marivaux’s early adventure novels, Pharsamond (1712, published 1737) and The Adventures of…, or the Wondrous Actions of Mutual Attraction (1713-14), combine a tribute to gallantry with a parody of the affectation of precieuse literature. A representative of the early Enlightenment, he was influenced by English Enlightenment figures and the spirit of compromise between the nobility and bourgeoisie that was characteristic of them. For this reason, there is a strong moralistic and didactic tendency in his works. In his parody-satirical novel Telemachus Travestied (1717, published 1736), he ridiculed the adherents of classicism.

Marivaux reached the peak of realism in his best psychological novels, The Life of Marianne (1731-41; Russian translation, 1762, 1968) and The Fortunate Peasant (1734-35; Russian translation, 1970). Their heroes come from the lower classes of society and are endowed with noble feelings. Marivaux helped to free French drama from the canons of classicism. He created a new genre of theater and introduced into drama elegance and intimacy, lightness and lyricism of plot, figurativeness, and refinement of language (marivaudage) using the methods of the Italian commedia deWarte. This was reflected in the comedies Surprise of Love (1723), The Game of Love and Chance (1730), The Triumph of Love (1732), and False Confessions (1738). In all, he wrote 36 comedies. He strongly influenced the development of French drama.


Théâtre complet, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1968.
Journaux et oeuvres diverses. Paris, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Komedii. Moscow, 1961.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 712-19.
Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
Deloffre, F. Marivaux et le marivaudage. Paris, 1955.
Greene, E. J. H. Marivaux. Toronto, 1965.
Desvignes-Parent, L. Marivaux et I’Angleterre. Paris, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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