Jean Francois Regnard, a French dramatist, born in Paris in February, 1655, died Sept. 4, 1709. He inherited great wealth and led a roving life. In Bologna he fell in love with a lady whom he made the heroine of his novel, La Provençale. She and her husband, whom he designates as M. de Prade, left Genoa on the same boat with him in 1678, and they were all captured by Algerine pirates. He and the lady were ransomed, and together went to Paris in the belief that the husband was dead; but on finding him alive after reaching that capital, Regnard in despair resumed his wandering life. After exploring Lapland, and travelling through Poland, Turkey, Hungary, and other countries, he returned to France about 1683; and for most of the remainder of his life he was prominently connected with the ministry of finance, and his house in the rue Richelieu was a resort of wits. He was one of the best followers of Molière, and excelled as a satirical poet. His Le joueur (1696) is one of the masterpieces of the French stage. The French academy in 1857 awarded a prize for the best eulogy of him.
The best of the numerous editions of his works are by Crapelet (6 vols., Paris, 1822) and by Alfred Michiels, with an essay and biographical notices (2 vols., 1854).