Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Born in Slatina, Romania in 1912, Ionesco spent most of his first thirteen years in France dreaming alternatively of being a saint and a warrior. Between the ages of thirteen and twenty-seven, he lived in Romania where he witnessed the rise of Fascism, Antisemitism, and the violence that encompassed it. Returning to France in 1938 he settled in Paris to live and write in his second language. He contributed to CAHIERS DU SUD and began writing avant-garde plays. His works stress the absurdity both of bourgeois values and of the way of life that they dictate. They express the futility of human endeavor in a universe ruled by chance. They all announce a refusal to suffer while acting out the dislocation and the strange emptiness he found in the world. His play la Cantatrice Chauve (1950) was suggested by the idiotic phrases in an English language textbook; it has become an enormously popular classic of the theater of the absurd. Among Ionesco's other plays include La Leçon (1951), Les Chaises (1952), Victimes du devoir (1953), Rhinocéros (1959), Le Roi se meurt (1959), and Jeux de massacre (1970). He wrote about the theater in Notes et contre-notes (1962, tr. 1964); a memoir, Présent passé, passé présent (1968, tr. 1971); and the novel Le Solitaire (1974). He died in 1994. Thanks for the Eugene, Tom...wonder if he was a soprano?
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