THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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ARNOULD-PLESSY, JEANNE SYLVANIE (1819-1897), French actress, was born in Metz on the 7th of September 1819, the daughter of a local actor named Plessy. She was a pupil of Samson at the Conservatoire in 1829, and made her début as Emma at the Comédie Française in 1834 in Alexandre Duval’s La Fille d’honneur. She had an immense success, and Mlle Mars, to whom the public already compared her, took her up. Until 1845 she had prominent parts in all the plays, new and old, at the Théâtre Français, when suddenly at the height of her success, she left Paris and went to London, marrying the dramatic author, J.F. Arnould (d. 1854), a man much older than herself. The Comédie Française, after having tried in vain to bring her back, brought a suit against her, and obtained heavy damages. In the meantime Madame Arnould-Plessy accepted an engagement at the French theatre at St Petersburg, where she played for nine years. In 1855 she returned to Paris and was re-admitted to the Comédie Française, as pensionnaire with an engagement for eight years. This second part of her career was even more brilliant than the first. She revived some of her old rôles, but began to abandon the jeunes premières for 640 the “lead,” in which she had a success unequalled since the retirement of Mlle Mars. Her later triumphs were especially associated with new plays by Émile Augier, Le Fils de Giboyer and Maître Guerin. Her last appearance was in Edouard Cadol’s La Grand-maman; she retired in 1876, and died in 1897.
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