Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

Born in Paris, the son of a watchmaker, he was brought up in his father's trade. He was engaged to teach the harp to Louis XV's daughters, and made a fortune through two judicious marriages and profitable speculation with Duverney, a rich Parisian banker. His first playas were only moderately successful. He made his reputation with Memoires du Sieur Beaumarchais par lui-meme (1774-78), a work which united the bitterest satire with the sharpest logic. The same brilliant satire burns in his two famous comedies, The Barber of Seville (1775) and The Marriage of Figaro (1785).