Jean de La Fontaine has been immortalised through his Fables. He is the undisputed master of the genre because he gave this ancient form, considered minor at the time he wrote, a renewed vigour unequalled to this day. Owing to his vivid language and narrative momentum, and also to his allusive references to contemporary issues, La Fontaine’s achievement with his 


 can be said to rank with the comedies of Molière. The scope of their subject matter and their detached moralising stance are reminiscent of Pascal’s aphoristic 


, but their true originality and strength reside in the universal appeal of their distinctive poetic style. La Fontaine widens the fable convention of animals impersonating humans by depicting eternal truths about the human condition with a subtle and…

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Citation: Oubrier Austin, Marie-Thérèse. "Jean de La Fontaine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2006; last revised 27 June 2019. [, accessed 29 February 2024.]

2583 Jean de La Fontaine 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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