BEFORE the time of Scribe, playwriting was a precarious profession in which the dramatist who was neither an actor nor a theatre manager generally had to rely on a patron for his livelihood, or else resign himself to a life of misery alleviated by an occasional windfall. The lot of the dramatist under patronage was not, of course, uniformly wretched. In France in the time of Louis XIV, when the Crown undertook a direct responsibility for the maintenance of the national culture, men of outstanding talent were thoroughly pampered. As royal historiographer, Racine received over a period of ten years a stupendous annual salary, and Moli6re, during his fifteen-year tenure as actor-manager and royal upholsterer, was able to earn, it is said, 336,000 francs in addition to the 200,000 francs a year he earned as a writer.1
Patronage came to an end in France shortly after the middle of the eighteenth century. Thenceforth a dramatist had to look primarily to the public for his livelihood and, as might be expected, popular taste became an increasingly important consideration in
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Publication information: Book title: The Flower and the Castle:An Introduction to Modern Drama. Contributors: Maurice Valency - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 58.