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But Louis XIV, who wants his historian Boileau to have the seat, does not allow the election to be registered. Boileau is 'unanimously' elected.


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La Fontaine's election can now be celebrated. This takes place at the Academie on May 2nd.


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  8. A two-volume publication brings together prose and verse by Maucroix and La Fontaine. The latter contributes a variety of poems, five new tales and eleven fables which will appear in the anthology. The latter, a classical scholar, is a personal friend of Charles Perrault and an enemy of Boileau. While avoiding taking sides, La Fontaine pleads the cause of the Ancients. The piece is not a success. La Fontaine, ageing and ill, repudiates his licentious Tales; in front of a delegation from the Academy, he promises to henceforth only compose works of a devout nature.

    The last book of Fables Book 12 of the modern edition appears in September dated — fourteen new fables, to be added to those of , dedicated to Louis XIV's grandson, the Duke of Burgundy. The death is entered on the Saint Eustache parish register. The poet is buried at the Saints Innocents cemetry. Jean de la Fontaine presents himself as the life-long dreamer he was. John left this life as he had entered it, Consuming the capital along with the interest. Slight regard had he for storing or saving. His fund of time, though, he administered wisely : In two equal parts dividing it nicely One spent sleeping, the other doing nothing.

    Jean de La Fontaine. Chateau-Thierry and its surrounding countryside was for La Fontaine a veritable stage which he was able to reconstruct in writing. Let's try to imagine this birthplace, the cocoon where the delightful Tales and the marvellous Fables slowly incubated. We know he was christened on July 8th in the church of Saint Crispin, but we have little documentation on his childhood and schooling.

    His classmate in Chaury, Louis Maucroix, gives us the first portrait : La Fontaine, a nice boy, well-behaved and unassuming During these early years, Jean lived with his parents and his brother Claude in the house which is now his museum in the rue des Cordeliers which is now rue Jean de la Fontaine.

    Jean de La Fontaine

    One can imagine the calm, cosy life of this wealthy family, whose lands provide the food for its table all year round and logs for its fireside as soon as summer ends. La Fontaine was born into a good home with good parents. The children probably did not undergo the harsh discipline that was the order of the day in matters of education.

    His father's authority was tempered by affection. But Jean was in any case an easy child to bring up, his health being as good as his character! The day's quiet rhythm of religious service and mealtimes was heightened by the fireside stories his father would bring back from his outings as inspector, stories of farmers' squabbles, village tales. At the time, Chaury was one of those little provincial towns where everyone knew everyone else, where people saluted each other, except on those days when they deliberately chose not to The tradesman respected the man of property who in turn solemnly saluted the man of law.

    This of course did not stop the commoners from sniggering at the Pretty Haberdasher proudly leaving her shop, while behind her back a joker makes the sign of the cuckold. Her good husband the haberdasher comes out and now the laughter increases — a scene is in the offing. The Pretty Haberdasher, the husband, the apothicary in whose shop she spends too much time The town has no theatre or newspaper but is rife with stories of cuckoldry and of unpaid debts. When the coach arrives and the square is full, the news travels fast.

    Indeed it is not so much in the town but in the countryside that La Fontaine spends his time, in the farms owned by his family. Their melodic place names still exist : Les Aulnes Bouillants, la Tueterie. La Tuterie was quite a big farm, with buildings forming three sides of a square. Was this where the Two love-struck Doves had their nest? After which, he has to to leave Chaury to complete his studies in Paris.

    There he meets up again with Maucroix who will remain his lifelong friend. He will also make the acquantance of Furetiere. This is what we can glean from the records : Although the eldest in the family, a movement of religious fervour inspires him to adopt the ecclesiastic life. Thus he comes here at the age of twenty-one and is made welcome among the congregation in the Paris chapter on April 27, His brother Claude is soon to follow.

    Whether this is really fervour or just an easy way out of a difficult choice, his vocation does not last very long. There follows a long period of what seems like inactivity during which Jean has gone back home, where his fathers still lives. This marriage would bring a son and many a quarrel. But La Fontaine was already a poet: when his son is born, he is busy translating L'Eunuque published in He is headed for glory as a poet. In the spring of , she had married the Duc de Bouillon and as the latter didn't fully trust her to be faithful, he sent her to Chaury where she was to remain under watch while he went to war with the Turks.

    Bored by this small town, she asked its Lieutenant General to find entertainment for her. He entered into the service of the king's widowed aunt, where he again had access, albeit limited, to the rich bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. In La Fontaine published the first of a collection of Fables choisies mises en vers Selected fables set in verse; books 1 — 6 , dedicated to the dauphin, which became extremely popular. Fables and other short poetic forms had been practiced in the literary salons for a while by a number of noted writers, but not with the style, wit, or power that La Fontaine displayed.

    He continued to write and publish new Tales, but with less success, and eventually incurred a police ban. Although actively writing, he only found approbation with a second set of Fables books 7 — 11 in — Leading a libertine life well into his sixties, La Fontaine did not change his life or renounce his more scandalous works until after he fell gravely ill in The next year saw a final book of Fables, a year before his death in Paris.

    La Fontaine had the nickname of the "butterfly of Parnassus," as he was often considered to be flighty and disorganized. But more recently this view has been challenged, and he has been seen as a capable courtier possessed of more skills than previously thought. Meanwhile, his superb mastery of poetic technique has never been doubted.

    The two hundred and forty or so fables that he wrote can be considered as various overlapping scenes in the drama of human life. This is presented generally by a brief story of animal conflicts, making the poems allegorical. They need to be applied to human behavior the wolf represents a certain kind of individual, or even a particular person before instruction can be drawn.

    The morals, which are often but not always stated, can seem contradictory, or at least tied to a certain situation, when the entire body of fables are read, but the didactic purpose frequently lies in citing one fable for a unique real-life case. The fables are appealing to both children and adults and are linked to the seventeenth century by numerous specific details, but they attain universal pertinence by the general character traits and morals revealed. The first set of Fables was inspired mainly by the Greek writer Aesop and the Roman Phaedrus, while later works were modeled after Bilpay and other non-Western sources.

    The conflicts between the grasshopper and the ant, the wolf and the lamb, and the tortoise and the hare, among many others, were part of both an oral tradition and a literary one. La Fontaine did not alter the basic stories or outcomes from these sources, but elaborated both the narrative and poetic aspects. A bit of conversation or some detail of clothing or place makes them more dramatic, picturesque, and plausible. As for poetic technique, at a time that valued the alexandrine couplet, La Fontaine displayed great irregularity, as he varied his line lengths and rhyme schemes within each fable, making them less artificial and predictable.

    Both Jean-Jacques Rousseau — and Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine — criticized the Fables as being too violent for children or even for adults, who also might mistakenly follow the vices, rather than the virtues, depicted. It is true that the poems often teach by negative example, but their charm has captivated most critics, teachers, and parents for more than three hundred years. Danner, Richard G. Patterns of Irony in the Fables of La Fontaine.

    Athens , Ohio , Rubin, David Lee. Columbus, Ohio, Runyon, Randolph Paul. Charlottesville, Va. Sweetser, Marie-Odile. La Fontaine. New York , Vincent, Michael.


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    Figures of the Text. Amsterdam and Philadelphia, A restless dilettante as a youth, he settled at last in Paris. La Fontaine's masterpiece is the collection of Fables choisies, mises en vers [selected fables versified] —94 , comprising 12 books of some fables drawn largely from Aesop. Each fable is a short tale of beasts behaving like men; each serves as a comment on human behavior.

    La Fontaine in English - The New York Times

    Although their charm and simple facade have made them popular with children, many are sophisticated satires and serious commentaries on French society. Their wit, acumen, and brilliance of verse and narrative have assured their worldwide success; they ran into 37 editions before La Fontaine's death. Among his other works are Contes et nouvelles en vers 4 vol. Tales and Novels in Verse, , humorous and often ribald verse tales drawn from Boccaccio, Ariosto, and others. See English translations of the fables by J. Auslander and J. Le Clercq , E.

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    Marsh , M. Moore , and J.

    About the Writer

    Mitchie ; biography by A. Mackay ; study by P. Wadsworth , repr. Flemish alchemist and poet who lived at Valenciennes toward the close of the thirteenth century. Two books are ascribed to him, La Fontaine des Amoureux de Science and La Fontaine Perilleuse, both of which were written in French and published in Paris , the first in and the second in Fontaine's claims to the authorship of the latter work have frequently been disputed, but the former is almost certainly his, and is a curious production.

    Marianne Moore Reads "The Fables of La Fontaine: The Woods and the Woodsman"