5 results
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 ...
Contributed by
National Library of France
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 ...
Contributed by
National Library of France
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 ...
Contributed by
National Library of France
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