Rotrou, Jean de

Rotrou, Jean de

(zhäN də rôtro͞o`), 1609–50, French dramatist. One of the Cinq auteurs, five playwrights commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu, Rotrou wrote many plays, including the noble and effective tragedies Saint-Genest (1646) and Venceslas (1647). He was a friend and rival of Corneille.

Rotrou, Jean De


Born Aug. 21, 1609, in Dreux; died there June 27, 1650. French dramatist and poet.

Rotrou was one of the literary secretaries of A. J. Richelieu. His first plays were tragicomedies with complex intrigues, lofty emotions, and many stage effects; they included The Hypochondriac (1631), Diana (1635), and The Innocent Infidelity (1637). In the late 1630’s, influenced by Corneille and the achievements of classicist dramaturgy, Rotrou wrote dramas derived from classical sources, including the tragedies Antigone (1639) and Belisarius (1644) and the comedy The Doubles (1638). Rotrou’s most important plays are The True Saint Genesius (1647), Wenceslaus (1648), and Cosroès (1649), which exalt self-denial and the triumph of duty over emotion. His works influenced Molière and other writers.


Oeuvres, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1820.
Théâtre choisi, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1882.
In Russian translation:
In Russkaia Taliia. St. Petersburg, 1824.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 435–36.
Jarry, J. Essai sur les oeuvres dramatiques de J. Rotrou. Lille, 1968.
Knutson, H. C. The Ironic Game: A Study of Rotrou’s Comic Theater. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1966.