Maxime de Redon des Chapelles

Marquis Charles-François-Jean-Maxime de Redon des Chapelles was a theatrically-obsessed aristocrat under the French ancien régime, and a former French cavalry officer, who in Napoleon's France became one of the more prolific authors for the popular stage, writing melodramas and vaudevilles for the boulevard theatres.


Particularly in the earlier part of his dramatic career, he often worked in collaboration with others, many of them still obscure even now, including composers as well as writers: many of his dramas include songs and ensembles. Almost all survive in copies printed at the time.[1] Maxime de Redon also wrote a small number of prose works, one of which touches on political themes. His dramatic career extended from 1805 until at least 1838, ending with a parody of Victor Hugo's Ruy Blas, but almost all details of de Redon's personal life are obscure. His initial successes as a dramatist came in the brief period of Napoleon's Consulate and then Empire, before the Emperor clamped down on plays, from 1807 severely restricting the number of licensed Parisian theatres.

After the fall of Napoleon in 1814 and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, de Redon appears to have become embroiled in the subsequent controversy surrounding the restitution of property and financial compensation to those émigrés who had suffered loss or expropriation under the Revolution - a controversy which in part contributed to the fall in 1830 of Louis XVIII. Redon's two pamphlets on the subject are a plea for such restitution; and in the lists of such payments issued by the Ministry of Finance the following year,[2] his father Marquis Charles de Redon (briefly Colonel-in-Chief of the 25th Line Regiment of Infantry, previously the Régiment de Poitou) is listed as 'émigré' and Maxime de Redon as his 'fils et seul héritier.' Redon's sycophantic verses attached as a preface to one volume of the contemporary Annales de la littérature et des arts [3] suggest that he was still, or had returned to being, a fervent supporter of the Bourbons.

Dramatic works

with collaborators, and date and location of first performance, as given in subsequent publication


Many of the lesser Parisian theatres underwent various changes of name during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods [4] even if the physical building remained constant. Sometimes also theatre names disappeared, only to be re-used later. Thus one of the many popular theatres staging melodramas, vaudevilles, etc., the Theâtre du Luxembourg (see 1823 et seq.) which sometimes appears also as the Théâtre forain[5] du Luxembourg, was situated in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, at no. 6 rue de Fleurus, just outside the Jardin du Luxembourg. It is not to be confused with the present-day marionette theatre within the Gardens themselves. Established in 1816 by the impresario-actor-clown-prompter-showman styling himself Bobino or Bobineau (real name: Saix), and thus sometimes also referred to as the Théâtre Bobino, the wooden building was demolished in 1868. In the years between 1823 and 1829, Maxime de Redon had several premières at this small theatre.

Prose writings

Verses and songs


  1. Catalogue of the Bibliotheue Nationale de France
  2. List for the Département du Gers
  3. 5e. année, vol. 17, 1824
  4. Popular Theatres of 19th Century France. McCormick, J.: London, Routledge, 1993
  5. forain: fairground

External links

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