PORTO-RICHE, GEORGES DE (1849–1930), French playwright. Born in Bordeaux into an assimilated family of Italian origin, Porto-Riche began his literary career with some collections of poetry: Prima Verba (1872), Pommes d'Eve (1874), and Tout n'est pas rose (1877). After writing two plays in verse – Le Vertige (1873) and Un Drame sous Philippe II (1875) – he turned his dramatic talent to plays dealing with the psychology of love. The most successful of these witty and well-constructed dramas were La chance de Françoise (1888), Amoureuse (1891), Le passé (1898), Le vieil homme (1911), and Le marchand d'estampes (1918). Collected as Théátre d'amour (1928), his plays fill four volumes.
Porto-Riche's view of love was the 17th-century classical concept of a tyrannical and destructive passion. His success was due largely to what was, at the time, a daring novelty: the presentation on the stage of the most intimate problems of people in love. This won him great popularity with many critics as well as with the public, but it also earned biting criticism from some of the more conservative. This, in the case of the extreme reactionaries of the "Action française," often took an antisemitic turn.
In 1906 Porto-Riche was appointed director of the Bibliothèque Mazarine. He was elected to the Académie francaise.
E. Sée, Porto-Riche (Fr., 1932), includes bibliography; W. Mueller; Georges de Porto-Riche, 1849–1930 (Fr., 1934)
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.