Though it took a few years for his absurdist view of the world to catch on, French playwright Eugene Ionesco is considered a revolutionary whose works changed the face of 20th century theater. He is perhaps best known for Rhinoceros, a surreal social commentary on fascism in which a mild-mannered clerk witnesses everyone around him transforming into the brutish title beasts. Other well-known efforts include The Bald Soprano, The Chairs, and The Lesson. A native of Romania, born to a lawyer and a French woman, Ionesco spent his childhood in Paris, but returned to Romania when he was 13. He remained there through early adulthood, graduating from the University of Bucharest in literary criticism. Due to his upbringing, French was Ionesco's first language and he became a French teacher during the early '30s. He returned to France in 1938, on a special grant to pen a thesis on modern French poetry. Once back in Paris, Ionesco never got around to writing it. Instead he turned to writing plays, some of which, notably Rhinoceros (1974), have been made into feature films.