10 results in English
La Fontaine's Fables
Jean de la Fontaine (1621−95) was the author of 12 books containing a total of 243 fables in verse, published between 1668 and 1694. Inspired by fable writers of classical antiquity, and more specifically by Aesop’s Fables, Lafontaine created anthropomorphic animals. Each tale tells a vivid story, which always ends with a moral. Examples include “La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure” (Might makes right) in “The wolf and the lamb;” “On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi” (A mouse may be of ...
Book of Different Things
This codex, entitled Livre de plusieurs choses (Book of different things), contains 120 poems in French. The title, now hardly visible, is on the upper cover of the manuscript. Comprising 252 extant paper leaves, it was compiled without any discernible structure or organization by a number of different scribes sometime between 1475 and 1500. The manuscript includes parts of the renowned Le Lais (Le Petit Testament) and Le Grand Testament of François Villon (1431−63) and is one of the principal sources of the former work. It also contains poems ...
The Book of the Love-Smitten Heart
Written in 1457, Le livre du Coeur d'amour épris (The book of the love-smitten heart) is an allegorical romance by King René of Anjou (1409−80). The text in verse and prose recounts the quest for love of the knight Heart who, in a dream, leaves with Desire in search of his lady, Mercy. This amorous journey combines the knight’s studies and his personal memories. The tone is that of a disenchanted man at the end of his life, for whom courtly love and desire both amount to ...
Gaspard of the Night: Fantasies in the Manner of Rembrandt and Callot
Louis-Jacques Napoléon Bertrand (also known by the more poetic pen name of Aloysius) is the author of only one book, Gaspard de la Nuit (Gaspard of the night). Born in 1807, he moved to Paris in 1833 and became an acquaintance of authors Victor Hugo and Charles Nodier. Poor and very ill, Bertrand lived in and out of hospitals from 1838 until his death from tuberculosis in 1841. His friend David d’Angers was the only person to accompany his casket to his final resting place. Bertrand reworked and refined ...
Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volumes I-III
The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contains the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a ...
Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volume I
The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contained the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a ...
Selected Fables for Children
The French poet Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) is best known for his 243 Fables, which he wrote over a 26-year period between 1668 and 1694. Patterned after Aesop’s Fables, La Fontaine’s tales involve a familiar cast of rabbits, grasshoppers, ants, foxes, and other animals. Written in verse, the Fables have been read by successive generations of French children, but also have been appreciated by adult readers for their satirical commentary on human nature. This copy of a late-19th century children’s edition belonged to U.S. Supreme ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Defense and Illustration of the French Language
Joachim Du Bellay was born in Anjou, western France, in about 1522. In 1549, he published l'Olive (The olive), his first collection of sonnets and the first cycle of love sonnets in the French vernacular. That same year, he put forward his ideas on the French language and poetic practices in this work, La Deffence, et illustration de la langue francoyse (The defense and illustration of the French language). Du Bellay shared his essay with friends, who later formed the group of 16th-century poets known as the Pleiades. His ...
Roman de la Rose
The Roman de la Rose, “wherein the whole art of love is contained,” was one of the most widely read literary works of the Middle Ages. An allegorical poem composed in the French—meaning Romance—of the 13th century, it was celebrated already in the 16th century as a national classic. The first 4,058 lines of the poem were written by Guillaume de Lorris in around 1230. Jean de Meung wrote an additional 17,724 lines in around 1275. The work is at once a courtly song, a story ...
The Twelve Ladies of Rhetoric
The manuscript entitled Les douze dames de rhétorique (The twelve ladies of rhetoric) contains the literary correspondence between Jean Robertet, secretary of the Bourbon duke Jean II; George Chastelain, historiographer of Philippe le Bon of Burgundy; and Jean de Montferrant, adviser and chamberlain at the Burgundian court. Written around 1464–65, the 19 letters in French and Latin are concerned with poetry. The letters are accompanied by a series of descriptions in verse of the twelve companions of Lady Rhetoric. Only five copies of the text, crafted immediately after the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library