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Alfred De Vigny (1797-1863)

Alfred Victor de Vigny (March 27, 1797 - September 17, 1863) was a French poet, playwright, and novelist. Alfred de Vigny was born into an aristocratic military family in Loches, Indre-et-Loire, France. As a result of the French Revolution, the family's circumstances had changed considerably. When King Louis XVIII took power in 1814, de Vigny joined the army. Although he at first planned on a military career, he began to write poetry. While serving in the military he had several poems published, noted for there stoical despair and pessimistic views. After resigning his commission in 1827, he moved to Paris where he devoted himself to writing. When an English theater troupe visited Paris in 1827 with a Shakespearean production, de Vigny became interested in the stage. In 1831, he presented his first original play, La Maréchale d'Ancre, a historical drama recounting the events leading up to the reign of King Louis XIII. In 1835, he produced a drama titled Chatterton, based on the life of Thomas Chatterton, and which is considered to be one of the best of the French romantic dramas. It made de Vigny famous and for a while, he was seen as Victor Hugo's literary rival. Although Alfred de Vigny gained success as a writer, he experienced several personal setbacks. The Académie française rejected his application for membership five times and for several years he became a near recluse until the Académie finally accepted him in 1845, almost twenty five years after his first poems were published and ten years after the publication of Chatterton. Alfred de Vigny died in Paris on September 17, 1863, a few months after the passing of his wife, Lydia Bunbury, and is interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, France. Several of his works were published posthumously.

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