Eugene Ionesco was a Romanian-French playwright who wrote mostly in French, and one of the foremost figures of the French Avant-garde theatre.
As a child, Eugene moved to Paris with his Romanian parents so his father could study for a doctorate degree in law. However, shortly after this, Romania entered war with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and his father was called back home for military service. Eugene and his family remained in Paris until Eugene was a young man. He returned to Romania in 1928 to study in Bucharest and met his future wife, Rodica Burileanu. They married after Eugene completed his studies, and he began teaching French while writing poetry, novels, and literary critiques. He returned to Paris to complete his doctorate on modern poetry and became a French citizen in 1950.
Eugene did not write his first play until 1948. Having decided to learn English, he was struck by the emptiness of the cliches of daily conversation that appeared in his phrase book. Out of such nonsensical sentences he constructed his first play, The Bald Soprano (1948), which satirizes the deadliness and idiocy of the daily life of a bourgeois society frozen in meaningless formalities. Greatly surprised by the success of the play, Ionesco embarked on a career as a writer of what he called antiplays, which characteristically combine a dream or nightmare atmosphere with grotesque, bizarre, and whimsical humor. He followed The Bald Soprano with other one-act plays in which illogical events create an atmosphere both comic and grotesque, including The Lesson (1950), Rhinoceros (1959), and Exit the King (1962).
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