THE REAL FIGARO: The Extraordinary Career of Caron de Beaumarchais by Cynthia Cox

THE REAL FIGARO: The Extraordinary Career of Caron de Beaumarchais

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This is a short popular biography of a man who had many careers, each fascinating in itself, but who is mainly familiar to English-speaking people because ozart and Rossini immortalized his plays -- The Marriage of Figaro and the Barber of eville. While the dynamic character of the sometime clockmaker, court favorite, spy, sinancier of the American Revolution, pamphleteer and playwright carries the story long, the author simultaneously depicts Beaumarchais's life as a constant battle against injustices. Some frankly were occasioned by his fondness for intrigue and others caused by his enemies. No attempt is made to analyze his writings although be author does identify the career with that of his stage creation --Figaro. Interesting sidelights are thrown on French censorship of the day: once, for example, eaumarchais incurred the displeasure of Church and State by his publication of the first complete edition of Voltaire. And we catch a glimpse of the breakdown of the legal system after the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 when his marriage as invalidated because of his position as an emigre. Summation: a popular biography with general readership appeal particularly for those with a penchant for Franco-American history. A bibliography and index are provided, but there are no footnotes identifying the numerous quotations. And surely, in a French biography also concerned with the American Revolution, some mention of Lafayette would have been appropriate.

Publisher: Coward-McCann