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J. de La Fontaine

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J. de La Fontaine

*  1621 Château-Thierry
† 1695 Paris


The writer Jean de La Fontaine was born in 1621 in Château-Thierry. He went to Paris in 1636 and finished his schooling there. Five years later, La Fontaine began studying theology under the Catholic order of the Oratorians. La Fontaine left the order in 1643 at the end of his probationary period in 1643. He subsequently studied law in Paris from 1645 until 1647. He married in 1647 in Château-Thierry, though he never lived with his wife. He moved to Paris, where he moved freely among the literary circles, though he did not come out with his own writings at this time. La Fontaine presented the short epic "Adonis," in 1658. Fouquet fell out of favor with Louis XIV and was arrested in 1662. La Fontaine then fled to Limoges, where he completed his tales in verse, which he expanded and published in 1666 as "Contes et nouvelles en vers." La Fontaine produced his main work, the Fables, in Paris, where he stayed with his patroness Marguerite de Lorraine until 1672. The first two volumes of "Fables choisies, mises en vers par M. de La Fontaine" appeared in 1686. He had earlier run into difficulties with the tightening standards of the censors in 1675, when selections of "Contes et nouvelles" were banned. The third and fourth volumes of the Fables appeared in 1677 and 1679, respectively. The Comédie Française played his piece "Le Rendez-vous," though it was performed only four times. La Fontaine published a revised complete edition of the tales in 1692. In late 1692 when La Fontaine fell ill, he returned to religion. He died in Paris in 1695.