Joachim Du Bellay, Défense et illustration de la langue française [Defence and Illustration of the French Language]

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In March 1549 Joachim Du Bellay, an up-and-coming French poet, published

La Deffence, et illustration de la langue françoyse

, a feisty manifesto in which he justified French as a worthy language of literary composition. In this work, Du Bellay aggressively defended his mother tongue at a time when many held French to be an inferior relation of Italian, Latin and Greek. Since its first publication, Du Bellay’s

Deffence, et illustration

has enjoyed mixed fortunes.

As modern critics have pointed out, the Deffence, et illustration paradoxically offers both more and less than its title suggests (Ferguson 1994, 194). In some respects it surpasses the reader’s expectations: Du Bellay not only discusses the various merits of the French language but moves on to consider how writers imitate one

2896 words

Citation: Patterson, Jonathan. "Défense et illustration de la langue française". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2015 [, accessed 22 April 2024.]

35589 Défense et illustration de la langue française 3 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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