Jean de La Fontaine (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) was a 17th Century French poet and fabulist. His fables are still known, and provided a model for other writers across Europe.
Fun Facts about Jean de La Fontaine:
- Jean de La Fontaine was born in Château-Thierry, France to a provincial middle-class family. Even though the family was not noble, his father Charles de La Fontaine was considered wealthy.
- At first Mr. La Fontaine studied to be a priest, however in a short time he realized that was not his calling, and went on to study law.
- The future author had a good start in his adult life. His father arranged a rangership for him (he was a ranger also), as well as arranging a marriage to 14-year-old Marie Héricart. The couple did not get along well, however. Marie was not a good housewife, and preferred a good novel, and the scandals attributed to her were mostly a product of ill gossip. Jean, on the other hand, was bad in business and away from home most of the time. For the next 40 years, despite having a son, the couple lived apart – he in Paris, and she in Château-Thierry.
- Jean de La Fontaine’s absence of mind and bad business dealings, which he was indifferent to, became stuff of legend.
- For the next 20 years, or so, La Fontaine was living with Madame Marguerite de la Sablière, a woman of great beauty and intellect, devoting himself to poetry and theatrical compositions.
- Jean de La Fontaine’s literary career started after he was 30 years old, translating Eunuchus of Terence in 1654, as well as writing prose and poetry.
- La Fontaine, Racine, Boileau and Molière formed the famous Rue du Vieux Colombier around the mid-1650s. Molière and La Fontaine were around the same age, while the other two were younger.
- The works of la Fontaine include fables, tales, as well as other works. He is, of course, best known for collecting French fables which were published in 12 books.
- Even though his fables are known throughout the world, he is mainly only known in France.
- The novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas features Jean de La Fontaine as a bumbling, scatterbrained character.
Zohar — Man of la Book
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