11 October 2016

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (continued): #2: Arsène Houssaye

Arsène Houssaye (1814–96) is a thin pseudonym of Arsène Housset, who also wrote under the pseudonym of Alfred Mousse. He lodged with Théophile Gautier and Gérard de Nerval, and was friends with Jules Janin and Alphonse Esquiros, all writers who contributed to the magazine L'Artiste, of which Houssaye was the director from 1843. Young writers he welcomed included Théophile de Banville, Henri Murger, Charles Monselet, Champfleury and Baudelaire.

As general administrator of the Comédie-Française thanks to Rachel, he put on plays by Victor Hugo père, François Ponsard and Léon Gozlan. He produced a great number of works, and Zola called him 'Un des derniers grands chênes de la forêt romantique' ('one of the last great oaks in the romantic forest').

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