Sardou, Victorien (vēktôryăNˈ särdōˈ) [key], 1831–1908, French dramatist. Author of some 70 plays, he won great popularity with his light comedies and pretentious historical pieces, but his reputation later declined. His best farce comedy is Divorçons! (1880, tr. 1881). Among his semihistorical melodramas are Patrie! (1869, tr. 1915) and Fédora (1882, tr. 1883), in which Sarah Bernhardt made her triumphant return to the Paris stage. Sardou's other plays written for her are La Tosca (1887, tr. 1925), the source of Puccini's opera, and Cléopâtre (1890). Two plays written for Sir Henry Irving, Robespierre (1899) and Dante (1903), were never given in French. Also among his plays in a lighter vein is Madame Sans-Gêne (1893, tr. 1901). Sardou was attacked for plagiarism but defended himself successfully. He was elected to the French Academy.
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