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About Edmond Francois Valentin

About, Edmond Francois Valentin, a French novelist, journalist, and dramatist, born at Dieuze (Meurthe), 1828; distinguished himself as a student at the Lycee Charlemagne, the Ecole Normale, and the French School at Athens. His first important work, La Grece Contemporaine (1855), attracted immediate notice; and was followed by a romance in the Revue des Deux Mondes, entitled Tolla. which brought upon its author a not wholly unmerited charge of plagiarism. In 1856 he tried his hand on the drama; but his play (Guillery), produced at the Theatre-Francais, proved an utter failure. Under the pseudonym "de Quevilly," he replied vigorously to his detractors in the columns of the Figaro. It was, however, as a writer of feuilletons for the Moniteur that he made good his claim to literary distinction. Five brilliant novels - Les Mariages de Paris, Le Roi des Montagues, Germaine, Les Echasses de Maitre Pierre, and Trente et Quarante, revealed a freshness of style, a delicacy of humour, and a power of description, that at once enlisted public sympathy. In L'Homme a l'oreille cassee, which attained great celebrity, he appeared under a new guise. Art-criticism at this period received much of his attention. A visit to Rome resulted in a more serious work, La Question Romaine, which, by its anti-papal tendencies, provoked warm discussion, the author keeping up the irritation by a series of articles ("Lettres d'un bon jeune Homme") in the Opinion Nationale. Some little success attended La Risette, ou les Millions de la Mansarde, a dramatic trifle played at the Gymnase; but in 1862 a more ambitious effort, Gaetana, was driven off the stage of the Odeon by a combination of hostile forces. M. About in the meantime had joined the staff of the Constitutionnel. In 1870 he took a somewhat prominent part in public affairs, and was special correspondent of the Soir. He ultimately accepted the Republic with something like enthusiasm. He founded and conducted the XIXine Siecle, a moderately democratic journal, acting also as correspondent of the Athenaeum. He died in 1885.