Alexis Piron (3745 words)

The best known text by Alexis Piron (1689-1773) is perhaps also one of the shortest, the two-line epitaph he wrote for himself:

Ci git, Piron, qui ne fut rien,
Pas même académicien. (Rigoley de Juvigny VII, 60)
[Here lies Piron, who was a nobody, / not even a member of the Académie française. (My translation.)]

This couplet and the story behind it tell us a lot about Piron. Any sense of sour grapes or self-pity is redeemed by a self-deprecating sense of humour. Nevertheless, that sense of humour is also often directed against others, and that “pas même” [“not even”] cuts down to size the members of the Académie, usually …

Connon, Derek Frederick. "Alexis Piron". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2019
[, accessed 26 April 2019.]

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