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Eugene Ionesco's Biography

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Eugene Ionesco was born in November 1912 in Slatina, Rumania.

Eugene Ionesco's mother was French and the family soon moved to Paris. Ionesco wrote his first play at 13. The family returned to Romania and Eugene Ionesco studied French at the University of Bucharest, and he started to write poetry and literary criticism. Eugene Ionesco then began teaching French at a school in Bucharest.

In 1936 Ionesco married Rodica Burileano and in 1938 they went back to France. Ionesco started his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne but did not finish it.

During World War II Ionesco worked in a publishing house and, in 1944, his daughter, Marie-France was born.

In 1948 Eugene Ionesco started learning English and it was the texts that he used featuring Mr and Mrs Smith that inspired the brilliant play, La Cantatrice Chauve translated as The Bald Prima Donna or The Bold Soprano. In the play Mrs Smith says: "Yoghurt is very good for the stomach, the lumber regions, appendicitis and apotheosis."

Amongst other great plays, Eugene Ionesco wrote Rhinoceros, The Lesson, and The Chairs. In the end he published only one novel, Le Solitaire (The Hermit, 1973). It is a masterpiece, and starts:

"At thirty-five, it's high time to quit the rat race. Assuming there is a rat race. I was sick and tired of my job. It was already late: I was fast approaching forty."

Eugene Ionesco said of his own work that it represents 'a mood and not an ideology, an impulse not a programme.'

Eugene Ionesco died in 1994.

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