1902 Encyclopedia > Jacques Arsène François Polycarpe Ancelot

Jacques Arsène François Polycarpe Ancelot
French dramatist and littérateur

Ancelot, Jacques Arsène François Polycarpe, a French dramatist and littérateur, was born at Havre, 9th Feb. 1794, and died 7 Sept. 1854. He completed his studies at Paris, where he made his literary début in 1819, with Louis IX., a five-act tragedy, of which three editions were speedily exhausted. It had a run of fifty rperesentations, and brought him a pension of 2000 francs from the king, Louis XVIII. His next work, The Mayor of the Palace, was played in 1823 with less success; but for it he received the cross of the Legion of Honour. Five years to the day after his Louis IX., he produced Fiesque, a clever adaptation of Schiller's Fiesco. In 1828 appeared Olga, or the Russian Orphan, the plot of which had been inspired by a voyage he made to Russia in 1826, of which he also published an account in prose. About the same period he produced in succession Mary of Brabant, a poem in six cantos; The Man of the World, a novel in four volumes, afterwards dramatised with success; and in 1829 Elizabeth of England, which became very popular. By the revolution of July 1830 he lost his royal pension and his office as librarian at Meudon; and, obliged by the cares of a wife and family to resign a life of art for one of industry, he was chiefly employed during the next ten years in writing vaudevilles and light dramas and comedies, working as he happily remarked pro fame instead of pro fama. A well-conceived tragedy, Marie Padilla, gained him admission to the French Academy, who chose him to succeed Bonald in 1841. Ancelot was sent by the French Government in 1849 to Turin, Florence, Brussels, and other capitals, to negotiate on the subject of international copyright; and the treaties on this question, which were concluded soon after, were the result, in great measure, of his tact and intelligence.

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