Joachim Du Bellay: Défense et illustration de la langue française [Defence and Illustration of the French Language] (2896 words)


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 …

Citation: Patterson, Jonathan. "Défense et illustration de la langue française". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2015 [, accessed 06 May 2021.]

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