05/06/1606 Born in Rouen, France, to a family of lawyers, Pierre Corneille would follow in his father`s footsteps.
1629 CORNEILLE`S first play, Mélite, was presented in Paris and at once scored a popular success.
1629 Educated by the Jesuits, he studied law and then entered the Rouen parlement. He would serve as the king`s counselor in the local office of the department of waterways and forests for 21 years, and remarkably, he still found the time to write 20 plays during this period.
1632 La Veuve or The Widow
1633 La Galerie du Palais or The Palace Corridor
1634 La Suivante or The Maidservant
1634 La Place Royal
1635 The playwright soon began to experiment with the tragic form and the result was the well received Médée
1636 When the epoch-making Le Cid appeared, it so far outshone anything that preceded it, that the earlier plays were practically disregarded. Not everyone, however, was so enamored of the play. Richelieu, still harboring a grudge against Corneille, staged a vicious campaign against Le Cid. He and his followers criticized the play for not observing the "classical unities"--a formula that Richelieu was fond of imposing on all plays in order to control the drama still further. At Richelieu`s urging, the Académie Francaise even went so far as to issue a document condemning Le Cid as "dramatically implausible and morally defective." Corneille was apparently deeply hurt by these attacks and did not write another play for almost three years.
1636 L`Illusion Comique
1640 When he did finally return to the stage, it was with a vengeance. Horace, dramatizes the conflict of families divided by duty during a war between the ancient Romans and their Alban neighbors.
1641 Corneille followed this success with Cinna which tells the story of a conspiracy against the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar, who outwits his potential murderers by granting them a political pardon rather than attempting to have them executed as they expect, thus proving that he has strength enough to be merciful.
1643 Polyeucte, considered by some critics to be Corneille`s greatest work, tells the story of a born-again Christian who finds that his wife is in love with another man
1643 Corneille also achieved a remarkable success with a comedy of intrigue, Le Menteur or The Liar. Like Le Cid, this comic masterpiece was based on a Spanish model and has come to be considered perhaps the finest French comedy written before the time of Molière.
1647 Corneille moved with his family to Paris and was admitted to the Académie Francaise, the same organization which had helped to wage the earlier campaign against Le Cid.
10/01/1684 Corneille died in his house on the rue d`Argenteuil, Paris.