Authors: Marivaux

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

French playwright and novelist

Author Works


Le Père prudent et équitable: Ou, Crispin l’heureux fourbe, pr. c. 1709

Arlequin poli par l’amour, pr. 1720 (Robin, Bachelor of Love, 1968)

La Surprise de l’amour, pr. 1722 (The Agreeable Surprise, 1766)

La Double Inconstance, pr. 1723 (Double Infidelity, 1968)

Le Prince travesti: Ou, L’Illustre Aventurier, pr. 1724

L’Île des esclaves, pr., pb. 1725 (Slave Island, 1988)

Le Triomphe de Plutus, pr. 1728 (Money Makes the World Go Round, 1968)

Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard, pr., pb. 1730 (The Game of Love and Chance, 1907)

L’École des mères, pr., pb. 1732

L’Heureux Stratagème, pr., pb. 1733 (TheWiles of Love, 1968)

Les Fausses Confidences, pr. 1737 (The False Confessions, 1961)

L’Épreuve, pr., pb. 1740 (The Test, 1924)

La Femme fidèle, pb. 1746

Théâtre complet, pb. 1878, revised pb. 2000

Théâtre de Marivaux, pb. 1929-1930, 1951

Seven Comedies, pb. 1968

Long Fiction:

Les Effets surprenants de la sympathie, 1713-1714

La Voiture embourbée, 1714

La Vie de Marianne, 1731-1741 (The Life of Marianne, 1736-1742

also known as The Virtuous Orphan: Or, The Life of Marianne, 1979)

Le Paysan parvenu, 1734-1735 (The Fortunate Peasant, 1735)

Le Télémaque travesti, 1736

Pharsamon, 1737 (Pharsamond: Or, The New Knight-Errant, 1750)

Short Fiction:

Le Bilbouquet, 1714


Homère travesti: Ou, L’Illiade en vers burlesques, 1716


Pensées sur la clarté du discours, 1719

Le Spectateur français, 1722-1723, 1727, 1761 (includes L’Indigent Philosophe and Le Cabinet du philosophe)

Réflexions, 1744-1755

L’Éducation d’un prince, 1754

Le Miroir, 1755 (essay)

Journaux et oeuvres diverses, 1969

Œuvres de jeunesse, 1972


Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux (mah-ree-voh) was born into a Norman family prominent in the legal profession. An only child, he enjoyed the privileges of rank and education, reflected in his gracious manners and social cultivation. By 1713 he was settled in Paris, where he wrote plays, novels, and newspaper articles. In 1717 he married Colombe Bologne. He lost most of his inheritance in poorly supervised investments within the next few years. He wife died in 1723, and several years later their daughter entered a convent.{$I[AN]9810000145}{$I[A]Marivaux}{$S[A]Carlet, Pierre;Marivaux}{$I[geo]FRANCE;Marivaux}{$I[tim]1688;Marivaux}

Marivaux profited from the patronage of the fashionable literary salons organized by the female icons of the eighteenth century–Anne-Thérèse Lambert, Claudine-Alexandrine Tencin, Marie-Thérèse Geoffrin, and Marie Deffand–all respected, powerful, and titled. With their support and encouragement he wrote about thirty plays, nearly twenty of them for the Théâter Italien; two influential novels; essays for the Nouveau Mercure (between 1717 and 1719) and the Spectateur Français (1722); and numerous minor works. He was elected to the French Academy in 1742; fifteen years later he became its director.

The Life of Marianne represents a landmark in the development of the novel because of its analytic precision and social realism. The Fortunate Peasant (also known as The Upstart Peasant), rooted in the picaresque novel tradition, reveals a gallery of characters drawn from several social layers. These novels, although unfinished, offer compelling studies of the déniasement (initiation) of inexperienced but socially ambitious young people into the coded hierarchy of personal relationships.

Marivaux’s theatrical productions are well-crafted dramatic fantasies replete with refreshing badinage (undertones, insinuations, and double entendres), song and dance, idealized love, exaggerated situations, delightful vistas, and skillful plotting. The term “Marivaudage,” coined by Denis Diderot, originally meant excessive refinement of psychological moods and endless speculation on minor points of argument; the modern use of the word is associated with Marivaux’s lively, subtle, and ingenious style. With these unique contributions to the theater and to the novel, Marivaux stands out as a creative force in the eighteenth century literary landscape.

BibliographyBadir, Magdy Gabriel, and Vivien Elizabeth Bosley, eds. Le Triomphe de Marivaux: A Colloquium Commemorating the Tricentenary of the Birth of Marivaux, 1688-1988. Edmonton: Department of Romance Languages, University of Alberta, 1989. A collection of papers on Marivaux, covering various aspects of his life and work. Bibliography.Brady, Valentini Papadopoulou. Love in the Theatre of Marivaux: A Study of the Factors Influencing Its Birth, Development, and Expression. Geneva: Droz, 1970. A critical examination of Marivaux’s dramatic works, with emphasis on his treatment of love. Bibliography.Cismaru, Alfred. Marivaux and Molière: A Comparison. Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1977. Marivaux’s connection to seventeenth century French drama is highlighted.Culpin, D. J. Marivaux and Reason: A Study in Early Enlightenment Thought. New York: P. Lang, 1993. Explores Marivaux’s place in the history of ideas.Jamieson, Ruth Kirby. Marivaux: A Study in Sensibility. Reprint. New York: Octagon Books, 1969. Approaches Marivaux’s career from the point of view of artistic and linguistic merit.Lynch, Lawrence. Eighteenth Century French Novelists and the Novel. York, S.C.: French Literature, 1979. General study with insightful commentary on Marivaux’s stylistic unity.Mylne, Vivienne. The Eighteenth Century French Novel: Techniques of Illusion. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Studies illusion as a device; comments on its use by Marivaux.Poe, George. The Rococo and Eighteenth Century French Language: A Study Through Marivaux’s Theater. New York: P. Lang, 1987. Studies linguistic techniques of Marivaux and his contemporaries in their dramatic works.Pucci, Suzanne L. Sites of the Spectator: Emerging Literary and Cultural Practice in Eighteenth Century France. Oxford, England: Voltaire Foundation, 2001. A look at Marivaux’s contributions to Le Spectateur français and the literary climate of the times. Bibliography and index.
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