Fredro, Alexander (äˌlĕksänˈdĕr frĕˈdrô) [key], 1793–1876, Polish comic dramatist. From 1809 to 1814, Fredro served in the Polish regiments of Napoleon I's army, taking part in the invasion of Russia. He returned to the family estates in Poland, devoting himself to the life of a country gentleman and writing plays that were at first influenced by the Molière and Goldoni works he had seen in Paris. Husband and Wife, the best of his early dramas, was performed in 1822. Of his many facile plays, the best-known include Ladies and Hussars (1825), Maidens' Vows (1832), Mister Joviality (1832), The Vengeance (1833), and The Life Annuity (1835). His period of literary inactivity from 1835 to 1854 was in part the result of attacks from literary critics. Fredro's plays are notable for their brilliant characterization, complex plots, and idiomatic, colorful language.
See The Major Comedies of Alexander Fredro, ed. by H. B. Segel (4 vol., tr. 1969).
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