Paul Fort, (born February 1, 1872, Reims, France--died April 20, 1960, Argenlieu), French poet and innovator of literary experiments, usually associated with the Symbolist movement.At the age of 18, reacting against the Naturalistic theatre, Fort founded the Theatre d'Art (1890-93), in which formalized backcloths and stylized performances were substituted for realistic settings and acting. He also founded and edited the review Vers et Prose (1905-14), which published the work of Paul Valery and other important Symbolist writers. Between 1897 and 1924 Fort produced 30 volumes of ballads...
Louise Labe, original name Louise Charly, byname La Belle Cordiere (French: "The Beautiful Rope Maker"), (born c. 1524, Lyon, France--died 1566, Parcieux-en-Dombes), French poet, the daughter of a rope maker (cordier).Labe was a member of the 16th-century Lyon school of humanist poets dominated by Maurice Sceve. Her wit, charm, accomplishments, and the freedom she enjoyed provoked unverifiable legends, such as those claiming she rode to war, was taken to dressing like a man, and was a cultured courtesan. In 1555 she published a book of love sonnets, which are remarkable for their emotional..
Adam De La Halle, byname Adam Le Bossu, orAdam The Hunchback, (born c. 1250, Arras, France--died c. 1306, Naples [now in Italy]), poet, musician, and innovator of the earliest French secular theatre.Adam's Jeu de la feuillee ("Play of the Greensward") is a satirical fantasy based on his own life, written to amuse his friends in Arras upon his departure for Paris to pursue his studies. Le Conge ("The Leave Taking") expresses his sorrow at leaving his wife and his native Arras. As court poet and musician to the Count d'Artois, he visited Naples and became famous for his polyphony as well as his topical..
Jacques Jasmin, pseudonym of Jacques Boe, (born March 6, 1798, Agen, Fr.--died Oct 4, 1864, Agen), French dialect poet who achieved popular fame for his touching verse portraits of humble people and places.His father was a poor tailor, and Jasmin himself spent most of his life as a barber and wigmaker in his native part of southern France. His first collection of poems, Charivari (1825; "Tin-Kettle Music"), was followed, beginning in 1835, by 4 volumes of Papillotos ("Curlpapers"); in addition to a few poems written cautiously in French, they contained his better works, written in his native..
Jean Passerat, (born Oct. 18, 1534, Troyes, France--died Sept. 14, 1602, Paris), French poet who composed elegant and tender verse and was one of the contributors to the "Satire Menippee," the manifesto of the moderate Royalist party in support of Henry of Navarre's claim to the throne.Passerat studied at the University of Paris, became a teacher at the College de Plessis, and in 1572 was made professor of Latin at the College de France, where he wrote scholarly Latin works and commentaries on Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius. He also composed poetry, his best pieces being "Ode du premier jour..
Gustave Kahn, (born Dec. 21, 1859, Metz, France--died Sept. 5, 1936, Paris), French poet and literary theorist who claimed to be the inventor of vers libre ("free verse").After study in Paris, Kahn spent four years in North Africa, returning to Paris in 1885. He helped found or edit several literary reviews, including La Vogue, Le Symboliste, and La Revue Independante, which printed his poems and discussed the various theories surrounding the Symbolist movement. Kahn explained his theory of vers libre in the preface to his Premiers poemes (1897), which included the earlier volumes Les Palais..
Jean Aicard, in full Francois-victor-jean Aicard, (born Feb. 4, 1848, Toulon, Fr.--died May 13, 1921, Paris), French poet, novelist, and dramatist, best known for his poems of the Provence region.As a young man Aicard studied law but abandoned it to devote himself to literature. His first book of poetry, Jeunes croyances (1867; "Beliefs of a Youth"), showed the influence of the Romantic poet Alphonse de Lamartine and was well received upon its appearance. He went to Paris after the Franco-German War and published Les Rebellions et les apaisements (1871; "Rebellions and Reassurances"). Poemes..
Theodore de Banville, in full Etienne-Claude-Jean-Baptiste-Theodore-Faullain de Banville, (born March 14, 1823, Moulins, France--died March 13, 1891, Paris), French poet of the mid-19th century who was a late disciple of the Romantics, a leader of the Parnassian movement, a contributor to many of the literary reviews of his time, and an influence on the Symbolists.His first book of verse, Les Cariatides (1842; "The Caryatids"), owed much to the style and manner of Victor Hugo, but Banville rejected the poor craftsmanship of much French Romantic poetry. His Petit Traite de poesie francaise..
Francois Maynard, Maynard also spelled Mainard, (born 1582/83, Toulouse, Fr.--died Dec. 28, 1646), French poet, leading disciple of Francois de Malherbe and, like him, concerned with the clarification of the French language. He is commonly confused with Francois Menard (1589-1631) of Nimes, also a poet.Maynard obtained a post with Marguerite de Valois in 1605 and began writing pastoral poetry. Philandre belongs to this period, although it was not printed until 1619. He attached himself to Malherbe and helped to spread the latter's ideas on the necessity of a standard grammar, the elimination..
Albert-Alexandre Glatigny, in full Joseph-Albert-Alexandre Glatigny, (born May 21, 1839, Lillebonne, France--died April 16, 1873, Sevres), French poet of the Parnassian school, known for his small poems of satiric comment and for his peripatetic life as a strolling actor and improvisationalist.A poor boy apprenticed to a printer, Glatigny wrote a historical drama at 16 and a year later ran off to join a traveling theatre company. While he was on the road the barbed language of Theodore de Banville's Odes funambulesques ("Fantastic Odes") inspired him to write his first book of poems, Les..
Sully Prudhomme, pseudonym of Rene-Francois-Armand Prudhomme, (born March 16, 1839, Paris--died Sept. 7, 1907, Chatenay, France), French poet who was a leading member of the Parnassian movement, which sought to restore elegance, balance, and aesthetic standards to poetry, in reaction to the excesses of Romanticism. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901.Sully Prudhomme studied science at school but was forced by an eye illness to renounce a scientific career. His first job was as a clerk in a factory office, which he left in 1860 to study law. In 1865 he began to publish..
Jose Maria de Heredia, (born Nov. 22, 1842, La Fortuna, Cuba--died Oct. 2, 1905, near Houdan, Fr.), Cuban-born French poet, brilliant master of the sonnet.The son of a wealthy Spanish coffee plantation owner and a French mother, Heredia was educated at Senlis, near Paris. He claimed France as "the country of my mind and heart"; and, although he went home after finishing his schooling, he quickly returned to Paris and studied at the School of Paleography. He became the close friend of the poet Charles-Marie-Rene Leconte de Lisle and, like him, was a leading figure in the Parnassians.Heredia's..
Robert Desnos, (born July 4, 1900, Paris--died June 8, 1945, Terezin, Czech.), French poet who joined Andre Breton in the early Surrealist movement, soon becoming one of its most valuable members because of his ability to fall into a hypnotic trance, under which he could recite his dreams, write, and draw. Texts from this period appeared in the Surrealist review Litterature and in his book La Liberte ou l'amour! (1927; "Liberty or Love!"). Humour, tenderness, and eroticism pervade his works, in which acrobatic verbal techniques never detract from the spontaneity of the inspiration. Dreams..
Henri de Regnier, (born Dec. 28, 1864, Honfleur, Fr.--died May 23, 1936, Paris), foremost French poet of the first decade of the 20th century.Born of an old Norman family, Regnier began to prepare for a career as a diplomat, but while studying law in Paris he came under the influence of the Symbolist poets and published his first volume of poems, Lendemains ("Tomorrows"), in 1885. Other volumes followed: Les Jeux rustiques et divins (1897; "Games--Tough and Divine"), Les Medailles d'argile (1900; "Clay Medals"), and La Sandale ailee (1906; "The Winged Sandal").In 1896 Regnier married Marie..
Philippe Desportes, (born 1546, Chartres, France--died Oct. 5, 1606, Abbey of Bonport), French courtier poet whose light, facile verse prepared the way for the new taste of the 17th century in France and whose sonnets served as models for the late Elizabethan poets.Desportes based his style on that of the Italians--chiefly Petrarch, Ludovico Ariosto, and Pietro Bembo. About 1567 he displaced Pierre de Ronsard as the favourite poet of Henry, Duke d'Anjou, whom he accompanied to Krakow when Henry was elected king of Poland in 1573. With the publication that year of Desportes' Premieres Oeuvres..
Remy Belleau, (born 1528, Nogent-le-Rotrou, near Chartres, France--died March 6, 1577, Paris), Renaissance scholar and poet who wrote highly polished portraits known as miniatures. He was a member of the group called La Pleiade, a literary circle that sought to enrich French literature by reviving classical tradition.A contemporary of the poet Pierre de Ronsard at the College de Cocqueret, Belleau at first gained the patronage of the Abbe Chretophle de Choiseul and later of Charles IX and Henry III, who made him secretary of the king's chamber. He took part in a campaign against Naples in 1557..
Pontus de Tyard, (born c. 1522, Bissy-sur-Fley, Burgundy, Fr.--died Sept. 23, 1605, Bragny-sur-Saone), Burgundian poet and member of the literary circle known as La Pleiade who was a forthright theorist and a popularizer of Renaissance learning for the elite.Tyard was seigneur (lord) of Bissy-sur-Fley and an associate of the Lyonese poets, especially Maurice Sceve. In 1551 he translated Leon Hebreo's Dialoghi di amore ("Dialogues of Love"), the breviary of 16th-century philosophic lovers. His poetry collection Erreurs amoureuses (1549; "Mistakes in Love"), which include one of the..
Jean Moreas, pseudonym of Yannis Papadiamantopoulos, (born April 15, 1856, Athens, Greece--died March 31, 1910, Paris, France), Greek-born poet who played a leading part in the French Symbolist movement.Early inspired by a French governess who instilled in him a passion for French poetry, Moreas moved to Paris in 1879, becoming a familiar figure in the literary circles frequenting the cafes and in the literary pages of newspapers and reviews. He published two manifestos, one in XIXe Siecle (Aug. 11, 1885) and one in the literary supplement of Le Figaro (Sept. 18, 1886), that helped establish..
Jean-Antoine de Baif, (born 1532, Venice [Italy]--died October 1589, Paris, France), most learned of the seven French poets who constituted the group known as La Pleiade.Baif received a classical education and in 1547 went with Pierre de Ronsard to study under Jean Dorat at the College de Coqueret, Paris, where they planned, with Joachim du Bellay, to transform French poetry by imitating the ancients and the Italians. To this program Baif contributed two collections of Petrarchan sonnets and Epicurean lyrics, Les Amours de Meline (1552) and L'Amour de Francine (1555). In 1567 Le Brave, ou..
Frederic Mistral, (born Sept. 8, 1830, Maillane, France--died March 25, 1914, Maillane), poet who led the 19th-century revival of Occitan (Provencal) language and literature. He shared the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1904 (with Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre) for his contributions in literature and philology.Mistral's father was a well-to-do farmer in the former French province of Provence. He attended the Royal College of Avignon (later renamed the Frederic Mistral School). One of his teachers was Joseph Roumanille, who had begun writing poems in the vernacular of Provence and who became..
Clement Marot, (born 1496?, Cahors, Fr.--died September 1544, Turin, Savoy [now in Italy]), one of the greatest poets of the French Renaissance, whose use of the forms and imagery of Latin poetry had marked influence on the style of his successors. His father, Jean, was a poet and held a post at the court of Anne de Bretagne and later served Francis I.In 1514 Marot became page to Nicolas de Neufville, seigneur de Villeroi, secretary to the king. Wishing to follow in his father's footsteps by obtaining a place as court poet, he entered the service of Margaret of Angouleme, sister of Francis I and later..
Pierre de Ronsard, (born Sept. 11, 1524, La Possonniere, near Couture, Fr.--died Dec. 27, 1585, Saint-Cosme, near Tours), poet, chief among the French Renaissance group of poets known as La Pleiade.Ronsard was a younger son of a noble family of the county of Vendome. He entered the service of the royal family as a page in 1536 and accompanied Princess Madeleine to Edinburgh after her marriage to James V of Scotland. On his return to France two years later, a court appointment or a military or diplomatic career seemed to be open before him, and in 1540 he accompanied the diplomat Lazare de Baif on a mission..
Emile Deschamps, (born Feb. 20, 1791, Bourges, Fr.--died April 23, 1871, Versailles), poet prominent in the development of Romanticism.Deschamps's literary debut came in 1818, when, with Henri de Latouche, he produced two plays. Five years later, with Victor Hugo, he founded La Muse francaise, the journal of the Romantic, and the preface to his Etudes francaises et etrangeres (1828) formed a manifesto of the movement. His translations of Romeo and Juliet (1839) and Macbeth (1844), though never performed, were also important. He wrote several libretti, notably that for Berlioz' Romeo et..
Jacques Peletier, byname Jacques Peletier du Mans ("of Le Mans"), (born 1517, Le Mans, France--died 1582, Paris), French poet and critic whose knowledge and love of Greek and Latin poetry earned him a membership in the important and prestigious group of French poetry reformers known as La Pleiade.In the preface to his translation of Horace's Ars Poetica (1545) and in his Art poetique francaise (1555; "French Poetic Art"), he put forward his own program for the reform of French poetry. He insisted that poets must imitate the classics if French literature was to rise to great heights. In addition..
Pey de Garros, (born c. 1530, Lectoure, near Agen, France--died 1585, Pau), Provencal poet whose work raised the Gascon dialect to the rank of a literary language in 16th-century France.A Protestant, Garros studied law, theology, and Hebrew at the University of Toulouse and later became avocat-general of Pau. In the preface to his Poesias gasconas (1567; "Gascon Poetry") he chided his fellow countrymen for preferring French to Gascon and pleaded for a restoration of the native dialect. He published a rhymed Gascon translation of the Psalms of David (1565). His Eglogues go beyond the imitation..
Louise-Victorine Ackermann, nee Choquet, (born November 30, 1813, Paris, Fr.--died August 2, 1890, Nice), French poet who is best-known for works characterized by a deep sense of pessimism.Educated by her father in the philosophy of the Encyclopedistes, she traveled to Berlin in 1838 to study German and there married (1843) Paul Ackermann, an Alsatian philologist. Two years later her husband died, and she went to live with her sister at Nice. There she wrote Contes en vers (1855; "Stories in Verse") and Contes et poesies (1862; "Stories and Poetry"), but her real reputation rests on the Poesies,..
Jean de Caen Bertaut, (born 1552, Donnay?, France--died June 8, 1611, Seez, Normandy), French poet notable as a writer of polished light verse.As a young man Bertaut was tutor to the children of a noble family and accompanied them to court. There he wrote lyric and elegiac poetry that shows the influence of the poets Pierre de Ronsard and Philippe Desportes. He composed love lyrics and poems celebrating the events of court life, usually in graceful alexandrine (12-syllable) lines, free of both Grecism and patois. In his later work he turned to religious themes and paraphrases of the psalms. His..
Antoine Heroet, byname La Maison-neuve, (born 1492?, Paris--died 1568, Digne, Fr.), Renaissance court poet whose works are representative of the amalgam of Platonism and Christian humanism that produced the modern concept of Platonic love.A member of the court surrounding Margaret of Angouleme, sister of Francis I and later queen of Navarre, Heroet is chiefly known for his La Parfaicte Amye (1542), a subtle, mystical monologue exalting as man's ultimate happiness a love in which the perfect lover seeks spiritual union with his lady. The poem was written as a reply to the cynical L'Amye de..
Pierre Reverdy, (born Sept. 13, 1889, Narbonne, Fr.--died June 17, 1960, Solesmes), French poet and moralist who first reflected Cubist and then Surrealist influence.The difficulty of Reverdy's poems limited his audience. He founded a short-lived review, Nord-Sud (1916; "North-South"), to promote Cubism. After turning to Surrealism in the 1920s, he returned to Cubist-inspired poetic techniques. Reverdy published Etoiles peintes (1921; "Painted Stars"), Les Epaves du ciel (1924; "Shipwrecks from Heaven"), and Flaques de verre (1929; "Glass Puddles"). In 1926 he retired to the Abbey..
Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulieres, (born Jan. 1, 1638, Paris, Fr.--died Feb. 17, 1694, Paris), French poet who, from 1672 until her death, presided over a salon that was a meeting place for the prominent literary figures of her day. She was also a leader of the coterie that attacked Jean Racine's Phedre.Deshoulieres's poems, the first of which were published in the Mercure Galant in 1672, were appreciated throughout the 18th century, her idylls and eclogues being especially popular. Her early poems celebrate the simple joys of nature and mark the small and large events in the lives..
Mathurin Regnier, (born Dec. 21, 1573, Chartres, Fr.--died Oct. 22, 1613, Rouen), French satiric poet whose works recall those of Horace, Juvenal, Ariosto, and Ronsard in free and original imitation, written in vigorous, colloquial French. Writing about typical characters of his time with verve and realism, in alexandrine couplets, he fully displayed his talents in Macette (1609), a work that has been compared to Moliere's Tartuffe. An acute critic, Regnier castigated Francois de Malherbe in an attack on the theory that poetry must conform to precise classical and intellectual standards..
Tristan Corbiere, pseudonym of Edouard Joachim Corbiere, (born July 18, 1845, Coat-Congar, near Morlaix, Fr.--died March 1, 1875, Morlaix), French poet remarkable in his day for his realistic pictures of seafaring life and for his innovative use of irony and slang and the rhythms of common speech.Educated at Morlaix and the lycees of Saint-Brieuc and Nantes, Corbiere settled in Roscoff, where, apart from three years in Paris, he spent the rest of his life and wrote most of his only volume of poems, Les Amours jaunes (1873). His main themes are love, Paris, the sea, and his native province. His..
Gilles Li Muisis, also called Le Muiset, (born January 1272, Tournai, France--died Oct. 15, 1352, Tournai), French poet and chronicler whose works are important sources for the history of France.Gilles entered the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Martin in Tournai in 1289. After being made prior of the abbey in 1329, he journeyed to Paris in 1330 to defend its interests against creditors. On April 30, 1331, he became abbot and, through his skill as an administrator, was able to revive some of Saint-Martin's former prosperity. His two Latin chronicles, Chronicon majus and Chronicon minus, are reasonably..
Anna de Noailles, in full Anna-Elisabeth de Noailles, Princess Brancovan, Countess (comtesse) Mathieu, (born Nov. 15, 1876, Paris, France--died April 30, 1933, Paris), poet, a leading literary figure in France in the pre-World War I period.The daughter of a Romanian prince and granddaughter of a Turkish pasha, she adopted France and its language for her life and writings even before her marriage to a French count. Her friends included the novelists Marcel Proust and Colette and the poets Paul Valery and Jean Cocteau. In her literary salon she kept most of the writers of her time under the spell..
Joseph Roumanille, (born Aug. 8, 1818, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France--died May 24, 1891, Avignon), Provencal poet and teacher, a founder and leader of the Felibrige, a movement dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of Provencal language, literature, and customs. Felibrige stimulated the renaissance of the language and customs of the whole of southern France.While teaching at the College Royal of Avignon (later renamed the Lycee Frederic Mistral), Roumanille became a lifelong friend of Frederic Mistral, who was to be the preeminent figure in the Provencal renaissance.Roumanille..
Pierre-Sylvain Marechal, (born August 15, 1750, Paris, France--died January 18, 1803, Montrouge), French poet, playwright, and publicist whose plan for a secular calendar, presented in his Almanach des honnetes gens (1788; "Dictionary of Notables"), was subsequently the basis for the French republican calendar adopted in 1793.By profession a lawyer and librarian, Marechal was by philosophy a materialist and an atheist. After writing some erotic poetry, he turned his talents to antireligious propaganda. He parodied the Bible in Livre echappe au Deluge (1784; "Book Salvaged from the..
Maurice Sceve, (born c. 1501, Lyon, France--died 1560/64?, Lyon), French poet who was considered great in his own day, then long neglected. Reinstated by 20th-century critics and poets, chiefly for his poem cycle, Delie, Sceve has often been described as the leader of the Lyonese school of writers (including Pernette du Guillet and Louise Labe), although there is no evidence of an organized school. Lyon, on the trade route between northern and southern Europe, was a centre of humanism, and Sceve first achieved fame in 1533 by his "discovery" of the tomb of Petrarch's Laura at Avignon and again..
Francis Viele-Griffin, pseudonym of Egbert Ludovicus Viele, (born May 26, 1864, Norfolk, Va., U.S.--died Nov. 12, 1937, Bergerac, Fr.), American-born French poet who became an important figure in the French Symbolist movement.Viele-Griffin, son of a military governor for the Union in the American Civil War, was sent to France at the age of eight to attend school and remained there for the rest of his life. His first collection of verse, Cueille d'avril (1886; "April's Harvest"), showed the influence of the Decadent movement, and the next two, Les Cygnes (1887; "The Swans") and Les Joies (1889;..
Jean de Meun, de Meun also spelled de Meung, (born c. 1240, Meung-sur-Loire, France--died before 1305), French poet famous for his continuation of the Roman de la rose, an allegorical poem in the courtly love tradition begun by Guillaume de Lorris about 1225.Jean de Meun's original name was Clopinel, or Chopinel, but he became known by the name of his birthplace. He probably owned a home in Paris and may have been archdeacon of the Beauce, a region between Paris and Orleans. Little is known of his life.His poems are satiric, coarse, at times immoral, but fearless and outspoken in attacking the abuses..
Maurice de Guerin, in full Georges-Maurice de Guerin, (born August 4/5, 1810, Chateau du Cayla, near Andillac, France--died July 19?, 1839, Chateau du Cayla), French Romantic poet who achieved cultish admiration after his death.Reared in a strictly Roman Catholic, Royalist family by his possessive sister, Eugenie, Guerin prepared for a clerical career at the College Stanislas in Paris. There he met the young novelist and critic Barbey d'Aurevilly, who became his lifelong friend.By 1831 Guerin had decided against a religious life, and he soon went to Brittany to live in a radical community..
Charles-Marie-Rene Leconte de Lisle, (born Oct. 22, 1818, Saint-Paul, Reunion--died July 17, 1894, Louveciennes, near Paris), poet, leader of the Parnassians, who from 1865 to 1895 was acknowledged as the foremost French poet apart from the aging Victor Hugo.Leconte de Lisle's theories, reacting against Romanticism and stressing the need for impersonality and discipline in poetry, were expressed with deliberate provocativeness and exaggeration. His epic poetry is often overweighted by erudition and ornamentation, but his shorter poems convey a compelling and individual vision,..