Sibylle Riqueti de Mirabeau

Sibylle Gabrielle Marie Antoinette Riqueti de Mirabeau

Sibylle Aimée Marie-Antoinette Gabrielle de Riquetti de Mirabeau, Comtesse de Martel de Janville (16 August 1849 28 June 1932) was a French writer who wrote under the pseudonym Gyp.[1]

She was born at the château de Coëtsal near Plumergat, in the département of the Morbihan, in Brittany, her father, Joseph-Arundel de Riquetti, comte de Mirabeau, 1820–1860, being the great-grandson of Victor de Riquetti, marquis de Mirabeau (Mirabeau Père), noted 18th-century economist, and grandnephew of Honoré Mirabeau the celebrated revolutionary orator. In view of her later opinions, it is interesting to remember that Sibylle was actually descended from Octave Mirabeau's royalist younger brother, André-Boniface-Louis de Riquetti, vicomte de Mirabeau, (1754–1792) known as Mirabeau-Tonneau because of his notorious embonpoint, who famously broke his sword in front of France's Revolutionary Assembly (where he represented the nobility of the Limousin) while bitterly crying out: "now that The King is giving up his kingdom, a nobleman no longer needs a sword to fight for him!"

Although, in her memoires, "Gyp" stated that she had been born on August 15, which happens to have been Napoleon Bonaparte's birthday, her birth certificate reads "morning of August 16, 1849", according to her biographer, W. Z. Silvermann. At her father's request, the name on her birth certificate was revised to read "Sibylle Aimée Marie Antoinette Gabrielle".

Sibylle's mother, the comtesse de Mirabeau, née de Gonneville (1827–1903) was also a writer, who contributed to Le Figaro. In 1869, Sibylle married count Roger de Martel de Janville, by whom she had three children.

Gyp wrote humorous sketches and novels which brazenly denounced her own fashionable society as well as the French republic's political class. She hated republicanism, populist democracy, and party shenanigans; supported Boulanger; and was a fanatical anti-Semite & anti-Dreyfusard; in fact, while testifying at a court case in 1899 she gave her profession as "anti-Semite" rather than "writer". She began with some articles in La Vie parisienne in February 1877, then in La Revue des Deux Mondes. Starting in 1880, she began to publish in book form, under the pseudonym of Gyp, a total of more than 120 works, many highly successful: Petit Bob, (1882), Les Chasseurs, Un trio turbulent, Autour du mariage (1883), Ce que femme veut (1883), Sans voiles (1885), Autour du divorce (1886), Dans le train (1886), Mademoiselle Loulou (1888), Bob au salon (1889), L'éducation d'un prince (1890), Passionette (1891), Oh! la grande vie (1891), Une Election à Tigre-sur-mer (1890), based on Gyp's experience supporting a boulangiste candidate, Marriage civil (1892), Ces bons docteurs (1892) De haut en bas (1893), Le Mariage de Chiffon (1894), Leurs âmes (1895), Le Cœur d'Ariane (1895), Le Bonheur de Ginette (1896), Totote (1897), Lune de miel (1898), Israel (1898), L'Entrevue (1899), Le Pays des champs (1900), Trop de chic (1900), Le Friquet (1901), La Fée (1902), Un Mariage chic (1903), Un Ménage dernier cri (1903), Maman (1904), Le Cœur de Pierrette (1905), Les Flanchards (1917), Souvenirs d'une petite fille (1927–1928), etc.

Her best-known work is probably Le Mariage de Chiffon, filmed in 1942 by Claude Autant-Lara.

Because of her unpopular opinions, the comtesse was the victim of several attempts on her life as well as of a sensational kidnapping.

Gyp, self-styled "last of the Mirabeaus", died at Neuilly-sur-Seine on 28 June 1932.


  1. James Phelan, Peter J. Rabinowitz (2005). A Companion to Narrative Theory. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-1476-2.

Further reading

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