Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2013/12/04

“December 4, 1595” by Rick Sanders

Jean Chapelain, one of the five founding membe...

Jean Chapelain, one of the five founding members of the Académie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1595, Jean Chapelain, the French poet is born. He dies in 1674. Wikipedia writes:

Chapelain’s reputation as a critic survived, and in 1663 he was employed by Colbert to draw up an account of contemporary men of letters, destined to guide the king in his distribution of pensions. In this pamphlet, as in his letters, he shows to far greater advantage than in his unfortunate epic. His prose is incomparably better than his verse; his criticisms are remarkable for their justice and generosity; his erudition and kindliness are well-attested; the royal attention was directed alike towards the author’s firmest friends and bitterest enemies. To him the young Jean Racine was indebted not only for advice, but also for the pension of six hundred livres which was so useful to him. The catholicity of Chapelain’s taste is shown by his De la lecture des vieux romans (printed 1870), in which he praises the chanson de geste, forgotten by his generation.

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