Famous French Playwrights

France has been the breeding ground of the world’s greatest literary figures and intellectuals. The country has produced some of the finest works and often served as the initiator of new trends in European literature. Interestingly, it is these trends that have passed on to the world, thus becoming a global trend in literature. While French novels and short stories are widely read and translated, French drama has been equivocally appreciated for the finesse that they possess. Tracing it roots way back to the 12th century, French theatre has a come a pretty long way since its Middle Age and Renaissance days. With its eventful history and glorious past, much of the opulence and magnificence that the theatre of France today enjoys is due to the work of proficiently talented French playwrights. And if you don’t believe us, check this. France has been the address of some of the world’s greatest playwrights like Alexander Dumas, Charles Riviere Dufresny, Emile Augier, Eugène Brieux, Victorien Sardou, Thomas Corneille, Alfred Jarry, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Antonin Artaud and so on. A key trademark of their work is an intense plot that is embroidered by a tight yet crisp story and dramatic dialogues. With this segment, explore the life and works of some of the greatest French playwrights.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas
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Birthdate: July 24, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: December 5, 1870

One of the most widely read French authors of all time, Alexandre Dumas was prolific in several genres. He joined the army as a young man and later became a full-time writer. Starting his writing career as a playwright, he moved on to writing novels. His novels have been adapted into nearly 200 films in the past century.

 2 Jules Verne

Jules Verne
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 8, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: March 24, 1905
French author Jules Verne, also known as the “Father of Science Fiction,” is best remembered for his legendary adventure novels Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He also became the world’s second most-translated writer since 1979.
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 3 Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac
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Famous As: French Novelist and Playwright
Birthdate: May 20, 1799
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French
Died: August 18, 1850

Honoré de Balzac was a French playwright and novelist. Since his works gave a detailed, unfiltered representation of society, Honoré de Balzac is generally considered one of the founders of realism and an important figure in European literature. Renowned for creating multi-faceted characters, Balzac influenced several popular writers like Charles John Huffam Dickens, Émile Zola, Henry James, and Gustave Flaubert.

 4 Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 5, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French
Died: July 31, 1784

Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.

 5 Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert
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Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: December 12, 1821
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: May 8, 1880

Gustave Flaubert was a French novelist best remembered for his first novel Madame Bovary, which was later adapted into an opera. One of the most influential French novelists of all time, Flaubert is widely regarded as the main exponent of literary realism in France. His work inspired his protégé and short story writer Guy de Maupassant, who later achieved much acclaim.

 6 Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac
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Famous As: Dramatist and Playwright
Birthdate: March 6, 1619
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: July 28, 1655
Seventeenth-century author and duelist Cyrano de Bergerac was immortalized by Edmond Rostand’s drama Cyrano de Bergerac, based on Bergerac’s life, with its mix of myth and reality. Even Bergerac's death is shrouded in mystery, with some claiming he died of an injury and others believing he died of a disease.

 7 Antonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud
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Famous As: Dramatist, Poet, Essayist, Actor, & Theatre Director
Birthdate: September 4, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French
Died: March 4, 1948
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 8 Jean Genet

Jean Genet
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 19, 1910
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: April 15, 1986

Jean Genet was a French playwright, novelist, essayist, poet, and political activist. Genet is best remembered for his transformation into a writer and playwright after spending his early life as a petty criminal and vagabond. His best-known works include novels, such as Our Lady of the Flowers and The Thief's Journal.

 9 Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras
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Famous As: Writer, Film director, Screenwriter, Publisher, Novelist, Playwright, Autobiographer, Journalist, Poet lawyer, Feminist
Birthdate: April 4, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French, Vietnamese
Died: March 3, 1996

 10 Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou
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Famous As: Philosopher, Novelist, Playwright, Editor, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: January 17, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French

 11 Jean Racine

Jean Racine
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Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: December 22, 1639
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: April 21, 1699

 12 Tristan Tzara

Tristan Tzara
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Famous As: Art collector, Poet, Writer, Diplomat, Film director, Translator, Playwright, Essayist, Composer, Musician, Performance artist, Literary critic
Birthdate: April 16, 1896
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: December 25, 1963

 13 Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland
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Famous As: Writer, Playwright, Essayist, Historian, Novelist, Musicologist
Birthdate: January 29, 1866
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: December 30, 1944

 14 Boris Vian

Boris Vian
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Famous As: Polymath, Singer, Poet, Trumpeter, Lyricist, Painter, Translator, Engineer, Librettist, Playwright, Journalist, Writer, Songwriter, Musician, Composer, Screenwriter, Jazz musician, Literary critic, Music journalist
Birthdate: March 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: June 23, 1959

 15 Alexandre Dumas, fils

Alexandre Dumas, fils
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 27, 1824
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: November 27, 1895

 16 Alphonse Daudet

Alphonse Daudet
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Famous As: Novelist, Short story writer, playwright, poet
Birthdate: May 13, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French
Died: December 16, 1897

 17 Marcel Pagnol

Marcel Pagnol
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 28, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: April 18, 1974

 18 Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry
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Famous As: Playwright, Writer, Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: September 8, 1873
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French
Died: November 1, 1907

 19 Alfred de Musset

Alfred de Musset
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Famous As: Dramatist, Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: December 11, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: May 2, 1857

 20 Edmond Rostand

Edmond Rostand
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Famous As: Playwright, Writer, Poet, Essayist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 1, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: December 2, 1918

 21 Philippe de Rothschild

Philippe de Rothschild
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Famous As: Winegrower, Screenwriter, Socialite, Racecar driver
Birthdate: April 13, 1902
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: January 20, 1988

 22 Yasmina Reza

Yasmina Reza
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Famous As: Actor, Linguist, Translator, Playwright, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 1, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French

 23 Gabriel Marcel

Gabriel Marcel
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Famous As: Playwright, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Musician, Music critic
Birthdate: December 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: October 8, 1973

 24 Jean Anouilh

Jean Anouilh
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Famous As: Playwright, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: June 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: French
Died: October 3, 1987

 25 Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
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Famous As: Playwright, Literary historian, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: March 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Belgian, French

 26 Prosper Mérimée

Prosper Mérimée
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Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Historian, Translator, Politician, Writer, Novelist, Painter, Playwright
Birthdate: September 28, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French
Died: September 23, 1870

 27 François Mauriac

François Mauriac
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Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter, Literary critic
Birthdate: October 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French
Died: September 1, 1970

 28 Paul Claudel

Paul Claudel
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Famous As: Playwright, Poet, Diplomat, Writer, Diarist, Poet lawyer, Translator
Birthdate: August 6, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: February 23, 1955

 29 Raymond Queneau

Raymond Queneau
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Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 21, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: October 25, 1976

 30 Sacha Guitry

Sacha Guitry
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Actor, Playwright, Film director, Theatre director, Librettist
Birthdate: February 21, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: July 24, 1957

 31 Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French, Guadeloupean

 32 Roland Topor

Roland Topor
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Famous As: Painter, Actor, Screenwriter, Writer, Novelist, Playwright
Birthdate: January 7, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French
Died: April 16, 1997

 33 Alfred de Vigny

Alfred de Vigny
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Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Novelist
Birthdate: March 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: September 17, 1863

 34 Georges Feydeau

Georges Feydeau
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: December 8, 1862
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French
Died: June 5, 1921

 35 Pierre de Marivaux

Pierre de Marivaux
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 4, 1688
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: February 12, 1763

 36 Octave Mirbeau

Octave Mirbeau
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Famous As: Novelist, playwright, journalist, pamphleteer
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: February 16, 1917

 37 Jean Giraudoux

Jean Giraudoux
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Famous As: Playwright, Screenwriter, Diplomat, Novelist, Essayist, Writer
Birthdate: October 29, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: January 31, 1944

 38 Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Actor, Playwright, Poet, Artist, Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: August 11, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Spanish, French

 39 Madeleine de Scudéry

Madeleine de Scudéry
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1607
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: June 2, 1701

 40 Victorien Sardou

Victorien Sardou
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Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: September 5, 1831
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French
Died: November 8, 1908

 41 Henry de Montherlant

Henry de Montherlant
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Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: April 20, 1895
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: September 21, 1972

 42 Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois

Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 19, 1749
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French
Died: June 8, 1796

 43 Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 7, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: August 19, 1889

 44 Louise-Rose-Etiennette Gerard

Louise-Rose-Etiennette Gerard
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Birthdate: April 5, 1871
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: April 5, 1953

 45 Nicolas Chamfort

Nicolas Chamfort
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 6, 1741
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: April 13, 1794

 46 Eugène Scribe

Eugène Scribe
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Famous As: French dramatist
Birthdate: December 24, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French
Died: February 20, 1861

 47 Zygmunt Krasiński

Zygmunt Krasiński
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 19, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: February 23, 1859

 48 Jean Poiret

Jean Poiret
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: March 14, 1992

 49 Ludovic Halévy

Ludovic Halévy
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 1, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French
Died: May 7, 1908

 50 Louis-Sébastien Mercier

Louis-Sébastien Mercier
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 6, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French
Died: April 25, 1814