Antoine de Montchrestien
1575 – 1621
Who was Antoine de Montchrestien?
Montchrestien was born in Falaise, Normandy. Son of an apothecary named Mauchrestien and orphan at a young age, Montchrestien came under the protection of François Thésart, baron de Tournebu and des Essarts, and became the valet of Thésart's children; he would later marry Thésart's daughter Suzanne. Later in his life he would also be favored by Henri II de Bourbon, prince de Condé.
Montchrestien initially sought a literary career: in 1595 he published his first tragedy, Sophonisbe or La Carthaginoise. In 1601, he published five more plays: the tragedies L'Ecossaise, Les Lacènes, David ou l'Adultère, Aman, and the pastoral La Bergerie. In 1604, he added his tragedy Hector.
Montchrestien was involved in several duels; in 1603 he was left near dead; in 1604 or 1605 he killed his opponent and was forced to flee to England temporarily to avoid royal prosecution, but most likely through the influence of James I, to whom he dedicated his tragedy, L'Ecossaise, he was allowed to return to France, and he established himself at Auxonne-sur-Loire, where he set up a steel foundry.
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