Jean de la Fontaine

The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

On Dec 22, 1637, French dramatist Jean Racine was born, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille, and an important literary figure in the Western tradition. Racine’s plays displayed his mastery of the dodecasyllabic (12 syllable) French alexandrine. His writing is renowned for its elegance, purity, speed, and fury. The linguistic effects of Racine’s poetry are widely considered to be untranslatable,although many eminent poets have…
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Jean de La Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de La Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

On July 8, 1621, Jean de La Fontaine, the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century, was born. He is best known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists all across Europe. “History some truths contains, which well may serve  For lessons.” – Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (1668–1679), Book I (1668), Dedication “To Monseigneur the Dauphin”. The…
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