Fun Facts Friday: Jean de La Fontaine

July 8, 2022

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 Friday: Jean de La FontaineBooks by or about Jean de La Fontaine*

Fun Facts about Jean de La Fontaine:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Jean de La Fontaine’s absence of mind and bad business dealings, which he was indifferent to, became stuff of legend.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Even though his fables are known throughout the world, he is mainly only known in France.
  10. The novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas features Jean de La Fontaine as a bumbling, scatterbrained character.

Books by or about Jean de La Fontaine*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Fun Facts Friday: Jean de La Fontaine
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Fun Facts Friday: Jean de La Fontaine
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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.
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