Théophile Marion Dumersan

Last updated

Theophile Marion Dumersan Theophile Marion Dumersan.jpg
Théophile Marion Dumersan

Théophile Marion Dumersan (4 January 1780, Plou, Cher [1] – 13 April 1849, Paris) was a French writer of plays, vaudevilles, poetry, novels, chanson collections, librettos, and novels, as well as a numismatist and curator attached to the Cabinet des médailles et antiques of the Bibliothèque royale.

Plou, Cher Commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Plou is a commune in the Cher département in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specializing in chansons is known as a "chanteur" (male) or "chanteuse" (female); a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.



The family's real surname was Marion [2] but – to distinguish himself from his brothers – Théophile's brother altered his surname to "du Mersan", after the name of one of its lands. The young Théophile had already found a taste for the theatre by 1795 by learning to read Racine and Molière. In that year, aged 16, whilst his family was distressed by the Reign of Terror, Théophile found work under Aubin-Louis Millin de Grandmaison, curator of the Cabinet des médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque royale. With his colleague Théodore-Edme Mionnet, future member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, he perfected a new system for classifying medals into geographical and chronological order, and protected the collection from dispersal by the allies after Napoleon's defeat. He then published at his own expense a history of the collection and description, as newly rearranged according to historical principles, in 1838 [3] All this led to his being named curator of the Cabinet in 1842.

Jean Racine French dramatist

Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine, was a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille, and an important literary figure in the Western tradition. Racine was primarily a tragedian, producing such "examples of neoclassical perfection" as Phèdre, Andromaque, and Athalie. He did write one comedy, Les Plaideurs, and a muted tragedy, Esther for the young.

Molière 17th-century French playwright and actor

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and universal literature. His extant works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets and more. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today. His influence is such that the French language itself is often referred to as the "language of Molière".

Reign of Terror Period during the French Revolution

The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established in which multiple massacres and public executions occurred in response to revolutionary fervor, anti-clerical sentiment, and frivolous accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety.

At the age of 18, he put on his first play, titled Arlequin perruquier, ou Les Têtes à la Titus, a critique of the fashions and mores of the day, and soon began supplying the théâtres de boulevard . In two years, he wrote no less than 18 plays, including L'Ange et le diable in 1799 (a 5-act drama which was produced more than 5 times, a remarkable number for that era). In total, he produced 238 pieces, more than 50 of which he wrote without a collaborator. The others were the result of a collaboration with better Parisian vaudevillistes, including Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, Nicolas Brazier, Pierre-Frédéric-Adolphe Carmouche, Marc-Antoine Désaugiers, Mélesville and Eugène Scribe. His greatest success was Les Saltimbanques, written with Charles Varin, a "farce désopilante" according to the Grand Dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle, put on at the Théâtre des Variétés in 1838.

Mores Customary behaviour

The concept of mores refers to social norms that are widely observed and are considered to have greater moral significance than others. Mores include an aversion for societal taboos, such as incest. The mores of a society usually predicate legislation reinforcing their taboos. Often, countries will employ specialized vice squads or vice police to combat specific crimes offending against societal mores.

Boulevard theatre is a theatrical aesthetic that emerged from the boulevards of Paris' old city.

Jean-Nicolas Bouilly French politician and writer

Jean-Nicolas Bouilly was a French playwright, librettist, children's writer, and politician of the French Revolution. He is best known for writing a libretto, supposedly based on a true story, about a woman who disguises herself as a man to rescue her husband from prison, which formed the basis of Beethoven's opera Fidelio as well as a number of other operas.

Amidst all these productions, Dumersan also found time to write works on numismatics and the history of the theatre, including the Manuel des coulisses, a lexicon of theatrical expressions and actors' slang. Towards the end of his life, he published several collections of chansons, notably the Chansons nationales et populaires de France, published in two volumes in 1866.

Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money and related objects. While numismatists are often characterised as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the exchange of goods. Early money used by people is referred to as "Odd and Curious", but the use of other goods in barter exchange is excluded, even where used as a circulating currency. The Kyrgyz people used horses as the principal currency unit and gave small change in lambskins; the lambskins may be suitable for numismatic study, but the horses are not. Many objects have been used for centuries, such as cowry shells, precious metals, cocoa beans, large stones and gems.

Selected works


Armand d'Artois was a 19th-century French playwright and librettist, and also Achille d'Artois's brother.

Théâtre du Vaudeville theatre at Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, France

The Théâtre du Vaudeville was a theatre in Paris. It opened on 12 January 1792 on rue de Chartres. Its directors, Piis and Barré, mainly put on "petites pièces mêlées de couplets sur des airs connus", including vaudevilles.

Gabriel de Lurieu

Gabriel de Lurieu was a French author and playwright.


Related Research Articles

Cabinet des Médailles museum

The Cabinet des Médailles, more formally known as Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, is a department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. The Cabinet des Médailles is located in the Richelieu-Louvois building – the former main building of the library – on the Rue de Richelieu.

Pierre Carmouche was a French playwright and chansonnier. He wrote more than 200 successful plays, comedies, comédies en vaudevilles and texts for opéras comiques, in collaboration with diverse authors - Brazier, Dumersan, Mélesville, de Courcy, etc.

Frédéric de Courcy, born Frédéric Charlot de Courcy was a French dramatist, poet and chansonnier.

Charles Dupeuty French librettist and playwright

Charles Désiré Dupeuty, was a 19th-century French librettist and playwright.

Nicolas Gersin was a French playwright and librettist.

Charles-François-Jean-Baptiste Moreau de Commagny French librettist

Charles-François-Jean-Baptiste Moreau de Commagny was a French playwright, librettist, poet and chansonnier.

Charles Sanguin, marquis de Livry was a 19th-century French playwright.

Ferdinand de Villeneuve French playwright (1801-1858)

Ferdinand de Villeneuve was a 19th-century French playwright.

Maurice Ourry French playwright (1776-1843)

Maurice Ourry was a French poet, playwright and journalist.

Sewrin, real name Charles-Augustin Bassompierre, was a French playwright and goguettier. In addition to his writing of comedies, opéras-comiques, vaudevilles and songs, he also was a librettist for François Adrien Boieldieu, Ferdinand Hérold and Luigi Cherubini

Antoine Simonnin, full name Antoine-Jean-Baptiste Simonnin, was a 19th-century French writer and dramatist.

Armand Gouffé French chansonnier

Armand Gouffé was a 19th-century French poet, chansonnier, goguettier and vaudevillist.

Marie Joseph Pain was a 19th-century French playwright, poet and essayist.

Bernard Lopez de Roberts was a 19th-century French playwright of Spanish origin.

W. Lafontaine was a 19th-century French playwright.

Marie-François-Denis-Thérésa Le Roy Allarde better known as Francis baron d'Allarde was a 19th-century French chansonnier and playwright.

Louis Philipon de La Madelaine was an 18th–19th-century French writer, chansonnier, philologist and goguettier.

Pierre Capelle French writer, chansonnier, bookseller, librettist, editor and printer

Pierre Adolphe Capelle was a 19th-century French chansonnier, goguettier and writer.


  1. According to the catalogue note for the Bibliothèque nationale de France and Dumersan Legion d'honneur file in French Archives Nationales.
  2. Biographical elements from the public domain Pierre Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle, vol. VI, 1870, p. 1379-1380.
  3. Théophile Marion Dumersan, Histoire de Cabinet des Médailles, antiques et pierres gravées, avec une notice sur la Bibliothèque Royale et une description des objets exposés dans cet établissement. Paris, chez l'auteur, 1838. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 April 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). His earlier Notice des monuments exposés dans le cabinet des médailles et antiques de la bibliothèque du Roi in several editions, concentrated on the antiquities and engraved gems.