Biography: 

Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) was born on Reunion Island off East Africa. He studied law in France but spent his life as a journalist and translator. Like Vigny, he is a pessimist, but he refuses to express his personal despair. He turns for inspiration to the classics and the Orient.

Biography: 

Jules Laforgue (1860-1887) was born in Montevideo of Breton parents but his early years were spent at Tarbes in the Hautes Pyrénées. He came to Paris as an adolescent and later spent five years in Germany (1881-1886), where he met and married a young English woman. He died of tuberculosis after seven months of marriage. Laforgue is a poet of anguish concerned with the ultimate meaning of life.

Biography: 

José-Maria de Heredia (1842-1905) was born in Cuba of a Spanish father and a French mother. Educated in France, he became the disciple and close friend of Leconte de Lisle. Like the latter, he cultivates erudition, impersonality, and perfection of form. Heredia excelled in sonnets, and these were made into a collection by him in 1893 under the tide Les Trophées.

Biography: 

Joachim Du Bellay (1522-1560) was a member of the group of poets known as the "Pléiade." He was the author of the celebrated Defense et Illustration de la langue francoyse (1549), which sought to break with mediaeval traditions mainly by following the example of the best Greek and Latin poetry.

Biography: 

Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) is the most widely read and the best loved of French classical writers. In France every school child studies his fables and leams some of them by heart. La Fontaine is a conscientious artist who also wrote longer poems and Contes et nouvelles en vers, and it is a mistake to think of him as writing primarily for children.

Biography: 

Henri de Régnier (1864-1936) is the author of many novels and short stories as well as collections of poetry and essays on literary criticism. He began as a disciple of Leconte de Lisle and Heredia and later became one of the chiefs of the Symbolist movement. His poetry is notable for its delicate effects and the perfection of its form.

Biography: 

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) was the illegitimate son of a Polish mother whose name was Kostrowitzky. After desultory studies in Paris, he led a rather nomadic life until the First Great War in which he enlisted in 1914. He was wounded in 1916 and died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Apollinaire has many moods and many styles.

Biography: 

François Villon is France's first great poet. Born in 1431, he is known to have studied at the University of Paris between 1449 and 1452. Villon disappeared from view in 1463 but in the record of his brief career there are many accounts of encounters with university authorities and the police.

Biography: 
  • Deschamps, Eustache. Oeuvres complètes de Eustache Deschamps. Eds. Gaston Raynaud and Henri Auguste Edouard, le marquis de Queux de Sainte-Hilaire. 11 vols. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1878-1903.

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