Chabanon, De

, a French writer of eminence in polite literature, is said to have been born in America, of French parents, in 1730, and died in Paris July 12, 1792, but our only authority does not give his Christian name, nor have we been able to discover it in any of the French catalogues. He was a member of the French academy, and of that of the belles-lettres, a dramatic author, an indifferent poet, but much esteemed for his writings respecting criticism and elegant literature. His principal works are: 1. “Eponine,” a tragedy, 1762, which did not succeed. 2. “Eloge de Rameau,1764, 8vo. 3. “Sur le sort de la poesie, en ce siecle philosophe, avec un dissertation sur Homere,1764, 8vo. 4. “Euxodie,” a tragedy, 1769, 12mo. 5. “Discours sur Pindar,” with a translation of some of his odes, 1769, 8vo. 6. “Les Odes Pithiques de Pindare,” translated, with notes, 1771, 8vo. This, in the opinion of Voltaire, is an excellent translation. 7. “Vie de Dante,1775, 8vo. 8. “Sabinus,” a lyric tragedy, but unsuccessful, 1775. 9. “Epitre sur la manie des jardins Anglois,1775, 8vo. The design of this is to modify, or rather to attack the principle that engages many to respect all the caprices of nature, and to shew that this principle, or at least its unrestrained application, may be prejudicial to the arts, but he displays more ingenuity than taste in this discussion. 10. “Idylles de Theocrite,” a new translation, 1777, 8vo. The most valuable part of this volume is a judicious and elegant essay on the Bucolic poets, in which, however, he is thought to treat Fontenelle and madame Deshoulieres with too much severity. 11. “Vers sur Voltaire,1778, | 8vo. 12. “De la Musique considereé en elle meme, et dans ses rapports avec la parole, les langues, la poesie, et la theatre,1788, 2 vols. 8vo. The first volume, if we mistake not, was published in 1735. In this, says Dr. Burney, he discovers a refined taste, nice discernment, much meditation and knowledge of the subject, and an uncommon spirit of investigation; and although Dr. Burney’s sentiments are not always in unison with the opinions and reasoning of M. de Chabanon, yet there are such enlarged views and luminous and elegant observations in analysing the sensations which music excites, in assigning reasons for the pleasures which this art communicates to ears that vibrate true to musical intervals and concordant sounds, that he thinks its perusal will generate reflections on the art, and set the mind of a musician at work, who had never before regarded music but as a mere object of sense. This book was written in the midst of the war of musical opinions between the Gluckists and Piccinists. The author is said to have been not only an excellent judge of instrumental composition and performance, but among dilettanti ranked high as a performer on the violin. 13. The “Discours” he pronounced on his admission into the academy Jan. 20, 1780, 4to. In 1795 was published from his manuscript, “Tableau de quelques circonstances de ma vie,” 8vo, containing a faithful but not very pleasing disclosure of his conduct and sentiments. It appears that in his youth he was a devot, as serious as madame Guyon, but that afterwards he went into the other extreme, no uncommon transition with his countrymen. 1


Dict. Hist.—Dr. Burney, in Rees’s Cyclopædia, who by mistake says Chabanou died in 1800.—Month. Rev. See Index.