Who is Paul Scarron? Information about the poet Paul Scarron biography, life story, works and poems.
Paul Scarron (c. July 1610 – October 6, 1660), French poet, playwright, and novelist, whose vigorous wit is most vividly displayed in the novel Le Roman comique. Scarron was bom in Paris on July 4, 1610. A member of a good family of Piedmontese origin, he led a fairly carefree life for almost 30 years. At 19 he became an abbé, entered the service of a bishop, went to Rome, and eventually attained a dominant position in fashionable literary circles. An attack of fever, followed by rheumatism, left him a hopeless cripple. His spirit was unbroken, however, and his house in Paris became the rendezvous of a somewhat libertine group amused by Scarron’s bitter mockery of himself and the world. His talents were admired, and he might have been prosperous if he had not sacrificed his pensions, one by one, to the demands of his circle.
In 1652, Scarron married the beautiful, wellborn, but poverty-stricken Françoise d’Aubigné, later to become the famous Mme. de Maintenon and finally the wife of Louis XIV. Mme. Scarron turned his turbulent gatherings into a well-regulated salon. Scarron died of his infirmities, in Paris, on Oct. 7, 1660.
Scarron was a wickedly clever versifier. Unfortunately, he never finished his Virgile travesti, a parody of the Aeneid, which showed him to be a master of burlesque. He was happier in his comedies, notably Jodelet, ou le maître valet (1643), which created a stock type, the sort of person whose absurdities cause helpless laughter. The valet Crispin in L’Écolier de Salamanque (1654) was also a long-lived type.
Scarron’s finest achievement, however, is Le Roman comique, an unfinished novel that protested against the preciosity of current French fiction. Here, as elsewhere, Scarron borrowed boldly but artistically from Spanish novels. The unfinished state of some of his most important works, however, makes it difficult to assess him.