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Fabre dEglantine Philippe François Nazaire
(17501794)

Fabre dEglantine Philippe François Nazaire (17501794)

Philippe Fransois Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine, commonly known as Fabre d'Eglantine was a French dramatist and revolutionary.

He was born at Carcassonne. His surname was Fabre, the d'Eglantine being added in commemoration of his receiving the golden eglantine of Clemence Isaure from the academy of the floral games (jeux Floraux) at Toulouse. After travelling in the provinces as an actor, he came to Paris, where he produced an unsuccessful comedy entitled Les Gens de lettres, ou le provincial Paris (1787). A tragedy, Augusta, produced at the Thetre Franais, also proved a failure. One only of his plays, Philinte, ou la suite du Misanthrope (1790), still preserves its reputation. It is supposed to be a continuation of Molire's Misanthrope, but the hero of the piece is a different character from the nominal prototypea pure and simple egotist. On its publication, the play was introduced by a preface, in which the author mercilessly satirises the Optimiste of his rival Jean Franois Collin d'Harleville, whose Chteaux en Espagne had gained the applause which Fabre's Presomptueux (1789) had failed to win. The character of Philinte had much political significance. Alceste received the highest praise, and evidently represents the citizen patriot, while Philinte is a dangerous aristocrat in disguise.

Fabre served as president and secretary of the club of the Cordeliers, and belonged also to the Jacobin Club. Georges Danton chose Fabre as his private secretary, and he sat in the National Convention of 1792 - 1795. He voted for the death of King Louis XVI, supporting the maximum and the law of the suspected, and he was a bitter enemy of the Girondins.

After the death of Marat (13 July 1793) Fabre published a Portrait de l'Ami du Peuple. On the abolition of the Gregorian Calendar in France he sat on the committee entrusted with the formation of the republican French Revolutionary Calendar, and contributed a large part of the new nomenclature, with its poetic Prairial and Floreal, its prosaic Primidi and Duodi. The report which he made on the subject, on 24 October 1793, has some scientific value.

On 12 January 1794 Fabre was arrested by order of the Committee of Public Safety on a charge of malversation and forgery in connection with the affairs of the French East India Company. (Documents still existing prove that the charge was altogether groundless.) Fabre died under the guillotine on 5 April 1794. On his way to the scaffold he distributed his manuscript poems to the people.

A posthumous play, Les Precepteurs, steeped with the doctrines of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile, was performed on 17 September 1794, and met with an enthusiastic reception. Among Fabre's other plays are the gay and successful Convalescent de qualite (1791), and L'Intrigue epistolaire (1791). In the latter play Fabre is supposed to have drawn a portrait of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze.


Togo, 1989, Philippe Fabre dEglantine

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