French poet and author; born in Carpentras about 1780; died in Paris Feb. 21, 1825. His name appears to have been originally "Moses"; he was known also under the pseudonyms "L'Ami" and "Lejoyeux de Saint Acre." At the age of six Joseph wrote verses, and at seven knew by heart the finer scenes of Racine's "Athalie," and had versified passages from Fénelon's" Télémaque." In 1787 he was kidnaped by the Catholic clergy, baptized, and shut up in a monastery, whence for five years his friends, notwithstanding great efforts, found it impossible to extricate him. In 1792, however, after the outbreak of the Revolution, he was restored to his family, transformed into a little "abbé galant"—diseased in body, depraved in taste, corrupt in morals, and given over to laziness and sensuality. He presently went to Paris, where he showed himself a born courtier and frequenter of the society of the great, and where he was much sought after and admired. The irregularities of his life gradually brought on consumption, and, rather than endure the trials that lay before him, he committed suicide, in company with his English wife.
Marc-Mossé wrote: "Chronique de Paris" (1819); "Archives des Lettres, des Sciences et des Arts" (1820-21); "Eucharis, on les Sensations de l'Amour" (1824); "La Caninéide" (epic-satiric poem); "Le Printemps" (idyl read by the author at the Paris Athénée in 1810); "Odes" (to the refugees from Spain, to war, to Napoleon's marriage); "La France Consolée," etc.; a critical examination of Lamennais' "Essai sur l'Indifférence en Matière de Religion" (in defense of the Israelites). He wrote also many amatory poems, studies, and treatises upon the art of pleasing, the art of preserving and increasing beauty, the art of making oneself loved by women, etc. (1808-11), and he left a large number of works in manuscript.
- La Grande Encyclopédie;
- Servi, Israeliti d'Europa, pp. 197-199.