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Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV$
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Hugh Gaston Hall

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151579.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Hugh Gaston Hall

Oxford University Press

Jean Desmarets, later Sieur de Saint-Sorlin, last jester of the royal Court of France and first Chancellor of the Académie-Française, is arguably one of the most versatile, and certainly one of the most prolific, French writers of the 17th century. He died the last surviving founder-member of the Académie-Française, having published in all the major literary genres: novels, lyric and heroic poetry, drama, letters, dialogues, essays, and treatises. The formats, reprints, and translations of his publications witness a writer far more successful with the contemporary reading public than might be judged from the literary history of the ‘century of Louis XIV’. Indeed, he was one of the most successful writers of his time. Dedications are a feature of his publications to which little attention has been given. Such impressive dedications do not, of course, guarantee literary quality. They do imply unusual status, the background of which this book seeks to explain.

Keywords:   Jean Desmarets, Académie-Française, century of Louis XIV, poetry, drama, France, writers

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