Corneille, Thomas [M. de l'Isle ]
- T. Michael Turnbull
[M. de l'Isle ]
( b Rouen, Aug 20, 1625; d Les Andelys, Dec 8, 1709). French playwright and librettist . Although overshadowed by his brother Pierre, he was a prolific and successful writer who embraced virtually all dramatic genres of the period. With Donneau de Visé he edited the Mercure galant, and his election in 1684 to the Académie Française encouraged scholarly pursuits.
Corneille's background made him an obvious substitute for Quinault, Lully's principal librettist, who in the late 1670s was in disgrace at court. Like Quinault he had made his name in spoken drama, and he had collaborated with Donneau de Visé on machine plays such as Circé and L'inconnu (both 1675) with incidental music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. A number of his dramas have been the source of operas, particularly early 18th-century Italian works (see Strohm). In addition Corneille was responsible for three librettos. The revision of the tragédie-ballet Psyché (Lully, ...