17th-century french fabulist and poet ( 1621-1695 )

not to be confused with Jean La Fontaine Jean de La Fontaine (, [ 1 ], [ 2 ] [ 3 ] french : [ ʒɑ̃ vitamin d ( ə ) la fɔ̃tɛn ] ; 8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695 ) was a french fabulist and one of the most wide read french poets of the seventeenth century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a mannequin for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternate versions in France, american samoa well as in french regional languages.

After a long time period of royal intuition, he was admitted to the french Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. testify of this is found in the many pictures and statues of the writer, late depictions on medals, coins and postage stamps .

liveliness [edit ]

early on years [edit ]

La Fontaine was born at Château-Thierry in France. His church father was Charles de La Fontaine, maître des eaux et forêts – a kind of deputy-ranger – of the Duchy of Château-Thierry ; his mother was Françoise Pidoux. Both sides of his class were of the highest peasant middle course ; though they were not noble, his forefather was reasonably affluent. [ 5 ] Jean, the eldest child, was educated at the collège ( grammar school ) of Château-Thierry, and at the end of his school days he entered the Oratory in May 1641, and the seminary of Saint-Magloire in October of the lapp year ; but a very short sojourn proved to him that he had mistaken his career. He then apparently studied law, and is said to have been admitted as avocat /lawyer .

family biography [edit ]

He was, however, settled in life, or at least might have been then, slightly early. In 1647 his father resigned his rangership in his favor, and arranged a marriage for him with Marie Héricart, a girl of fourteen, who brought him 20,000 livres, and expectations. She seems to have been both beautiful and intelligent, but the two did not get along well together. There appears to be absolutely no footing for the obscure scandal as to her conduct, which was, for the most separate, raised long afterwards by gossip or personal enemies of La Fontaine. All that can be positively said against her is that she was a negligent housewife and an chronic fresh subscriber ; La Fontaine himself was constantly aside from home, was surely not hard-and-fast in point of conjugal fidelity, and was so bad a homo of business that his affairs became involved in hopeless difficulty, and a fiscal separation of property ( separation de biens ) had to take place in 1658. This was a perfectly amicable transaction for the benefit of the family ; by degrees, however, the couple, still without any actual quarrel, ceased to live together, and for the greater separate of the last forty years of de la Fontaine ‘s life he lived in Paris while his wife remained in Chateau Thierry which, however, he frequently visited. One son was born to them in 1653, and was educated and taken wish of wholly by his beget. [ 6 ]

Paris [edit ]

Fables choisies, 1692 ed. Title page, vol. 2 of La Fontaine ‘s, 1692 erectile dysfunction. even in the earlier years of his marriage, La Fontaine seems to have been a lot in Paris, but it was not until about 1656 that he became a regular visitor to the capital. The duties of his office, which were only occasional, were compatible with this non-residence. It was not until he was by thirty that his literary career began. The take of Malherbe, it is said, beginning awoke poetic fancies in him, but for some time he attempted nothing but trifles in the manner of the time – epigrams, ballades, rondeau, etc. His inaugural serious function was a translation or adaptation of the Eunuchus of Terence ( 1654 ). At this time the patron of french writing was the Superintendent Fouquet, to whom La Fontaine was introduced by Jacques Jannart, a connection of his wife ‘s. few people who paid their court to Fouquet went away empty-handed, and La Fontaine soon received a pension of 1000 livres ( 1659 ), on the easy terms of a copy of verses for each quarters receipt. He besides began a medley of prose and poetry, entitled Le Songe de Vaux, on Fouquet ‘s celebrated state family. It was about this time that his wife ‘s property had to be individually secured to her, and he seems by degrees to have had to sell everything that he owned ; but, as he never lacked herculean and generous patrons, this was of humble importance to him. In the same year he wrote a ballad, Les Rieurs du Beau-Richard, and this was followed by many little pieces of episodic poetry addressed to respective personages from the baron downwards. Fouquet fell out of prefer with the king and was arrested. La Fontaine, like most of Fouquet ‘s literary protégés, showed some fidelity to him by writing the elegy Pleurez, Nymphes de Vaux. fair at this time his affairs did not look promising. His father and he had assumed the title of esquire, to which they were not rigorously entitled, and, some erstwhile edicts on the national having been put in violence, an informer procured a sentence against the poet fining him 2000 livres. He found, however, a new defender in the duke and still more in the Duchess of Bouillon, his feudal superiors at Château-Thierry, and nothing more is heard of the fine. Some of La Fontaine ‘s liveliest verses are addressed to the duchess Marie Anne Mancini, the youngest of Mazarin ‘s nieces, and it is evening probable that the taste of the duke and duchess for Ariosto had something to do with the write of his foremost work of very importance, the first book of the Contes, which appeared in 1664. He was then forty-three years honest-to-god, and his former print productions had been relatively fiddling, though much of his function was handed about in manuscript retentive before it was regularly published .

fame [edit ]

It was about this time that the quartet of the Rue du Vieux Colombier, so celebrated in french literary history, was formed. It consisted of La Fontaine, Racine, Boileau and Molière, the last of whom was about of the same historic period as La Fontaine, the other two well younger. Chapelain was besides a kind of foreigner in the clique. There are many anecdotes, some pretty obviously apocryphal, about these meetings. The most feature is possibly that which asserts that a copy of Chapelain ‘s doomed Pucelle always lay on the board, a certain number of lines of which was the appointed punishment for offences against the company. The clique furnished under feigned appoint the personages of La Fontaine ‘s version of the Cupid and Psyche story, which, however, with Adonis, was not printed public treasury 1669 .
Facsimile of one of the very few manuscripts by Jean de La Fontaine interim, the poet continued to find friends. In 1664 he was regularly commissioned and sworn in a valet to the duchess dowager of Orléans, and was installed in the Luxembourg. He hush retained his rangership, and in 1666 we have something like a rebuke from Colbert suggesting that he should look into some malpractices at Chateau Thierry. In the same year appeared the second base book of the Contes, and in 1668 the first six books of the Fables, with more of both kinds in 1671. In this latter class a curious case of the docility with which the poet lent himself to any influence was afforded by his officiate, at the case of the Port-Royalists, as editor program of a volume of sacred poetry dedicated to the Prince of Conti. A year afterwards his position, which had for some time been decidedly thrive, showed signs of changing very much for the bad. The duchess of Orléans died, and he obviously had to give up his rangership, credibly selling it to pay debts. But there was constantly a providence for La Fontaine. Madame de la Sablière, a woman of great smasher, of considerable cerebral power and of high character, invited him to make his home in her house, where he lived for some twenty years. He seems to have had no trouble oneself any about his affairs thenceforward ; and could devote himself to his two different lines of poetry, equally well as to that of theatrical typography .

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academy [edit ]

In 1682 he was, at more than sixty years of age, recognized as one of the foremost men of letters of France. Madame de Sévigné, one of the soundest literary critics of the clock, and by no means given to praise mere novelties, had spoken of his second collection of Fables published in the winter of 1678 as godhead ; and it is pretty certain that this was the general opinion. It was not excessive, consequently, that he should present himself to the Académie française, and, though the subjects of his Contes were hardly calculated to propitiate that becoming assembly, while his attachment to Fouquet and to more than one representative of the erstwhile Frondeur party made him suspect to Colbert and the king, most of the members were his personal friends. He was inaugural proposed in 1682, but was rejected for Marquis de Dangeau. The following year Colbert died and La Fontaine was again nominated. Boileau was besides a campaigner, but the beginning ballot gave the fabulist sixteen votes against seven only for the critic. The king, whose assent was necessary, not merely for election but for a moment ballot in font of the failure of an absolute majority, was ill-pleased, and the election was left pending. Another vacancy occurred, however, some months belated, and to this Boileau was elected. The baron hastened to approve the option effusively, adding, Vous pouvez incessamment recevoir La Fontaine, il a promis d’etre sage. His entree was indirectly the cause of the alone serious literary quarrel of his life. A dispute took set between the Academy and one of its members, Antoine Furetière, on the subject of the latter ‘s french dictionary, which was decided to be a breach of the Academy ‘s bodied privileges. Furetière, a man of no small ability, bitterly assailed those whom he considered to be his enemies, and among them La Fontaine, whose doomed Contes made him peculiarly vulnerable, his second solicitation of these tales having been the subject of a police condemnation. The death of the writer of the Roman Bourgeois, however, put an goal to this quarrel. concisely afterwards La Fontaine had a plowshare in a however more celebrated affair, the observe Ancient-and-Modern quibble in which Boileau and Charles Perrault were the chiefs, and in which La Fontaine ( though he had been specially singled out by Perrault for better comparison with Aesop and Phaedrus ) took the Ancient side. About the same fourth dimension ( 1685–1687 ) he made the acquaintance of the last of his many hosts and protectors, Monsieur and Madame d’Hervart, and fell in love with a certain Madame Ulrich, a lady of some placement but of doubtful character. This acquaintance was accompanied by a great familiarity with Vendôme, Chaulieu and the rest of the libertine clique of the Temple ; but, though Madame de la Sablière had long given herself up about entirely to good works and religious exercises, La Fontaine continued an inmate of her house until her death in 1693. What followed is told in one of the best sleep together of the many stories bearing on his childlike nature. Hervart on earshot of the death, had set out at once to find La Fontaine. He met him in the street in bang-up sorrow, and begged him to make his home at his house. J’y allais was La Fontaine ‘s answer .
In 1692, the writer had published a revised edition of the Contes, although he suffered a hard illness. In that lapp year, La Fontaine converted to Christianity. A youthful priest, M. Poucet, tried to persuade him about the indecency of the Contes and it is said that the destruction of a newfangled play was demanded and submitted to as a proof of repentance. [ 9 ] La Fontaine received the Viaticum, and the follow years he continued to write poems and fables. [ 10 ]

A fib is told of the young duke of Burgundy, Fénelon ‘s pupil, who was then only eleven years old, sending 50 louis to La Fontaine as a present of his own gesture. But, though La Fontaine recovered for the time, he was broken by old age and infirmity, and his new hosts had to nurse rather than to entertain him, which they did very carefully and kindly. He did a small more work, completing his Fables among early things ; but he did not outlive Madame de la Sablière much more than two years, dying on 13 April 1695 in Paris, at the age of seventy-three. When the Père Lachaise Cemetery opened in Paris, La Fontaine ‘s remains were moved there. His wife survived him closely fifteen years .

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Anecdotes [edit ]

The curious personal character of La Fontaine, like that of some other men of letters, has been enshrined in a kind of caption by literary tradition. At an early age his absence of heed and nonchalance to business gave a topic to Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux. His late contemporaries helped to swell the fib, and the eighteenth hundred ultimately accepted it, including the anecdotes of his meeting his son, being told who he was, and note, Ah, yes, I thought I had seen him somewhere!, of his insisting on fighting a duel with a supposed admirer of his wife, and then imploring him to visit at his theater just as ahead ; of his going into company with his stockings wrong side out, & c., with, for a contrast, those of his awkwardness and muteness, if not positive discourtesy in party. It ought to be remembered, as a gloss on the unfavorable description by Jean de La Bruyère, that La Fontaine was a special supporter and ally of Benserade, La Bruyere ‘s head literary enemy. But after all deductions a lot will remain, particularly when it is remembered that one of the head authorities for these anecdotes is Louis Racine, a man who possessed intelligence and moral worth, and who received them from his forefather, La Fontaine ‘s impound friend for more than thirty years. possibly the best worth recording of all these stories is one of the Vieux Colombier four, which tells how Molière, while Racine and Boileau were exercising their wits upon le bonhomme or le bon ( by both which titles La Fontaine was familiarly known ), remarked to a bystander, Nos beaux esprits ont beau faire, ils n’effaceront pas le bonhomme. They have not .

Works [edit ]

An example of “ Les Médecins “ ( fable V.12 ) by Gustave Doré, 1866 The numerous works of La Fontaine capitulation into three traditional divisions : the Fables, the Tales and the many-sided ( including dramatic ) works. He is outdo known for the first base of these, in which a tradition of fabrication collecting in french verse reaching back to the Middle Ages was brought to a peak. Although these earlier works refer to Aesop in their style, they collected many fables from more holocene sources. Among the foremost were Marie de France ‘s Ysopet ( 1190 ) and Gilles Corrozet ’ sulfur Les Fables du très ancien Esope, mises en rithme françoise ( 1542 ). The publication of the twelve books of La Fontaine ‘s Fables extended from 1668 to 1694. The stories in the first six of these derive for the most separate from Aesop and Horace and are pithily told in free verse. Those in the late editions are much taken from more holocene sources or from translations of Eastern stories and are told at greater length. The deceptively simpleton verses are easily memorised, even display deep insights into human nature. Many of the lines have entered the french linguistic process as standard phrases, frequently proverbial. The fables are besides distinguished by their occasionally ironic ambivalence. The fabrication of “ The Sculptor and the Statue of Jupiter ” ( IX.6 ), for example, reads like a sarcasm on superstition, but its sermonize termination that “ All men, equally far as in them lies, /Create realities of dreams ” might evenly be applied to religion as a whole. [ 11 ] The second division of his sour, the tales ( Contes et nouvelles en vers ), were at one time about evenly as popular and their writing extended over a longer menstruation. The beginning were published in 1664 and the stopping point appeared posthumously. They were particularly marked by their archly licentious tone. [ 12 ]

Depictions and bequest [edit ]

While the Fables have an international repute, celebration of their writer has largely been confined to France. even in his own life, such was his fame, he was painted by three leading portraitists. It was at the old age of 63, on the occasion of his reception into the Académie française in 1684, that he was portrayed by Hyacinthe Rigaud. [ 13 ] Nicolas de Largillière painted him at the old age of 73, [ 14 ] and a third gear portrayal is attributed to François de Troy ( see below ). [ 15 ] Two contemporaneous sculptors made forefront and shoulders busts of La Fontaine. Jean-Jacques Caffieri ’ sulfur was exhibited at the 1779 Salon and then given to the Comédie Française ; Jean-Antoine Houdon ’ mho dates from 1782. [ 16 ] There are in fact two versions by Houdon, one now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, [ 17 ] and another at the castle of his erstwhile patron Fouquet at Vaux-le-Vicomte ( see below ). In Paris there is a full length marble statue by Pierre Julien, now in the Louvre, that was commissioned in 1781 and exhibited at the 1785 Salon. The writer is represented in an ample dissemble, sitting in contemplation on a gnarled tree on which a vine with grapes is climbing. On his stifle is the manuscript of the legend of the fox and the grapes, while at his feet a confuse is seated on his hat with its paw on a leather-bound volume, looking up at him. [ 18 ] Small plate porcelain models were made of this by the Sèvres pottery and in polychrome porcelain by the Frankenthal pottery. In the succeed century modest models were made of the bronze statue by Etienne Marin Melingue, exhibited in Paris in 1840 and in London in 1881. In this the poet is leaning thoughtfully against a rock, hat in hand. [ 19 ] besides in the Cour Napoléon of the Louvre is the 1857 standing stone statue by Jean-Louis Jaley. [ 20 ] Another commemorative repository to La Fontaine was set up at the lead of the Parisian Jardin du Ranelagh in 1891. The bronze broke designed by Achille Dumilâtre was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle ( 1889 ) before being placed on a high stone pedestal surrounded by diverse figures from the fables. [ 21 ] The function was melted down, like many others during World War II, but was replaced in 1983 by Charles Correia ‘s standing statue of the fabulist looking down at the fox and the crow on the steps and pedestal below him. [ 22 ]

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Jean-Antoine Houdon ‘s flop of the fabulist at Vaux-le-Vicomte There are more statues in Château-Thierry, the town of the poet ‘s birth. The most big is the standing statue by Charles-René Laitié, [ 23 ] which was ordered by command of Louis XVIII as a gift to the town. It was officially set in plaza in a straight overlooking the Marne in 1824. During the second Battle of the Marne it was damaged and was then moved about the township. Repaired nowadays, its award position is in the square fronting the poet ‘s former theater. At his feet the race between the Tortoise and the Hare is taking place. [ 24 ] The firm itself has now been converted into a museum, outside which stands the life-size statue created by Bernard Seurre. [ 25 ] Inside the museum is Louis-Pierre Deseine ’ second head and shoulders clay flop of La Fontaine. [ 26 ] foster tell of La Fontaine ‘s enduring popularity is his appearance on a playing card from the irregular year of the french Revolution. [ 27 ] In this backpack royalty is displaced by the positivist free-thinkers known as Philosophes, and the dry fabulist figures as the King of Spades. He was no less popular at the Bourbon Restoration, as is evidenced by the royal committee of his statue. Besides that, there was the 1816 bronze commemorative decoration depicting the poet ‘s head, designed by Jacques-Édouard Gatteaux, in the Great Men of France series. [ 28 ] More recently there has been a sideways seated see of him in the Histoire de France series. [ 29 ] The head of La Fontaine besides appeared on a 100 franc mint to commemorate the three-hundredth anniversary of his death, on the rearward of which the fabrication of the fox and the corvus is depicted. [ 30 ] Another memorial that class included the strip of 2.80 euro fable stamps, in the composite booklet of which appeared a detachable portrait without currentness. In 1995 equally, the asteroid 5780 Lafontaine was named in his honor. [ 31 ] other appearances on postage stamps include the 55 centimes issue of 1938, with a medallion of the legend of The Wolf and the Lamb below him ; [ 32 ] and the Monaco 50-cent tender commemorating the 350th anniversary of La Fontaine ‘s give birth in 1971, in which the head and shoulders of the fabulist appear below some of the more celebrated characters about which he wrote. [ 33 ] Another mint series on which he appears is the annual Fables de La Fontaine celebration of the ( chinese ) lunar new year. Issued since 2006, these bullion coins have had his portrait on the reverse and on the face each year ‘s particular zodiac animal. [ 34 ] fictional depictions have followed the fashionable scene of La Fontaine at their period. As a minor character in Alexandre Dumas ‘s novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne, he appears as a botch and scatterbrained courtier of Nicolas Fouquet. [ 35 ] In the 2007 film Jean de La Fontaine – le défi, however, the poet resists the absolutist rule of Louis XIV after the fall of Fouquet .

See besides [edit ]

References [edit ]


Sources [edit ]

foster read [edit ]

  • Young La Fontaine: A Study of His Artistic Growth in His Early Poetry and First Fables, by Philip A. Wadsworth. Pub. Northwestern University Press, 1952.
  • Oeuvres diverses de Jean de La Fontaine, edited by Pierre Clarac. Pub. Gallimard (“Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”), 1958. The standard, fully annotated edition of LF’s prose and minor poetry.
  • O Muse, fuyante proie …: essai sur la poésie de La Fontaine, by Odette de Mourgues. Pub. Corti, 1962. Seminal.
  • Le Monde littéraire de La Fontaine, by Jean-Pierre Collinet. Pub. PUF, 1970
  • The Esthetics of Negligence: La Fontaine’s Contes, by John C. Lapp. Pub. Cambridge University Press, 1971.
  • [La Fontaine] l’Esprit Créateur 21.4 (1981); guest-editor: David Lee Rubin.
  • Patterns of Irony in the Fables of La Fontaine, by Richard Danner. Pub. Ohio University Press, 1985.
  • La Fontaine: Fables, 2 volumes, edited by Marc Fumaroli. Pub. Imprimerie Nationale, 1985. Brilliant introductory essays and notes on texts.
  • La Fontaine, by Marie-Odile Sweetser. Pub. G.K. Hall (Twayne World Authors Series 788), 1987.
  • Oeuvres complètes de Jean de La Fontaine: Fables et Contes, edited by Jean-Pierre Collinet. Pub. Gallimard (“Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”), 1991. The standard fully annotated edition of these works.
  • A Pact with Silence: Art and Thought in the Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, by David Lee Rubin. Pub. Ohio State U Press, 1991.
  • La Fabrique des Fables, by Patrick Dandrey. Pub. Klincksieck, 1991.
  • Figures of the Text: Reading and Writing (in) La Fontaine, by Michael Vincent. Pub. John Benjamins (Purdue University Monographs in Romance Literatures), 1992.
  • La Fontaine’s Bawdy: Of Libertines, Louts, and Lechers, selections from Contes et nouvelles en vers, transl. Norman Shapiro. Pub. Princeton University Press, 1992; repr. Black Widow Press, forthcoming.
  • Lectures de La Fontaine, by Jules Brody. Pub. Rookwood Press, 1995.
  • Refiguring La Fontaine: Tercentenary Essays, edited by Anne L. Birberick. Pub. Rookwood Press, 1996.
  • Reading Under Cover: Audience and Authority in Jean La Fontaine, by Anne L. Birberick. Pub. Bucknell University Press, 1998.
  • Cognitive Space and Patterns of Deceit in La Fontaine’s Contes, by Catherine M. Grisé. Pub: Rookwood Press, 1998.
  • In La Fontaine’s Labyrinth: a Thread through the Fables, by Randolph Paul Runyon. Pub. Rookwood Press, 2000.
  • Poet and the King: Jean de La Fontaine and His Century, by Marc Fumaroli; Jean Marie Todd (transl.). Pub. University of Notre Dame, 2002.
  • The Shape of Change: Essays on La Fontaine and Early Modern French Literature in Honor of David Lee Rubin, edited by Anne L. Birberick and Russell J. Ganim. Pub. Rodopi, 2002.
  • La Fontaine à l’école républicaine: Du poète universel au classique scolaire, by Ralph Albanese, Jr. Pub. Rookwood Press 2003.
  • The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, Norman Shapiro (transl.). Pub. University of Illinois Press, 2007.
  • La Fontaine’s Complete Tales in Verse, An Illustrated And Annotated Translation, by Randolph Paul Runyon. Pub. McFarland & Company, 2009.
  • The Fables, by Jean de La Fontaine, Jupiter Books, London, 1975, [In French and English]….ISBN 0 904041 26 3…
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