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MAURICE DONNAY (1854-1945)

The following biography was originally published in The Continental Drama of Today. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1914. p. 145.

Maurice Donnay was born in 1854 at Paris, of a well-to-do middle-class family in the district of Montmartre. Although the young man early displayed a liking and some talent for literature, his parents wished him to become a civil engineer. Educated in his native city, he entered a contractor's office in 1885, where he remained for six years. Because he recited some verses of his own in a cabaret in Montmartre, he was forced to resign from his position. For two years he appeared at the "Chat Noir," where his graceful and satirical "saynètes" -- little verses and dialogues -- brought him considerable local popularity. In 1892, Lysistrata, his first play, was produced at the Grand Théâtre. This adaptation of Aristophanes enjoyed some success, but the play which followed it, Lovers, immediately gave him national fame. It has remained his best-known and best-loved play. Among Donnay's numerous plays, all of which deal in one manner or another with the relations of the sexes, the most typical are The Other Danger, The Sad Woman, and The Return from Jerusalem. [He died on March 31, 1945, in Paris.]