Antoine Furetière

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Antoine Furetière
Antoine Furetiere.png
Born(1619-12-28)28 December 1619
Paris, France
Died14 May 1688(1688-05-14) (aged 68)
OccupationScholar, writer, Catholic clergyman

Antoine Furetière (28 December 1619 14 May 1688), was a French scholar, writer, and lexicographer.



He was born in Paris, the son of an employee of the royal household. He studied law and worked for a time as an attorney and tax assessor. Later he became a Catholic clergyman and, after various promotions, the abbot of Chalivoy in the diocese of Bourges in 1662. Thanks to the leisure he enjoyed as a clergyman, he was able to devote himself to letters. [1] He was admitted to the Académie française in 1662 in virtue of his satire Nouvelle allégorique, ou histoire des derniers troubles arrivés au royaume d'éloquence (1658) among other works. [2]

Académie française Pre-eminent council for the French language

The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the oldest of the five académies of the institute.

One of Furetière's most important literary works was Le Roman bourgeois (1666). This satirical novel described the everyday life of his times, especially within the legal profession, and it cast ridicule on the fashionable romances of Madeleine de Scudéry [1] and of Gauthier de Costes, seigneur de la Calprenède. Because of its similarity to Paul Scarron's Le Roman comique (1651, 1657), it was translated into English as Scarron's City Romance in 1671. With a self-conscious narrator who comments on his techniques and disregards the conventions of the novel, it anticipates Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759–67). [3]

Madeleine de Scudéry French writer

Madeleine de Scudéry, often known simply as Mademoiselle de Scudéry, was a French writer. She was the younger sister of author Georges de Scudéry.

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Paul Scarron French poet, dramatist, and novelist

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At the time of its founding, the Académie française had been entrusted with the task of producing a complete dictionary of the French language. At first, Furetière participated in the collaborative project with enthusiasm, but he eventually grew frustrated with his colleagues' approach and slow progress and began work on his own dictionary, probably around 1676-78. [4] When members of the academy heard that Furetière was about to publish his dictionary, they interfered, alleging that he had stolen their material and violated the monopoly they had held on French dictionaries since 1672. In 1685, after fierce recrimination on both sides, Furetière was expelled from the academy, and the French government revoked his permission to publish the dictionary. In 1690, Furetière's Dictionaire universel was published posthumously in the Netherlands with a Preface prepared by his friend Pierre Bayle. [1]

Dictionary collection of words and their meanings

A dictionary, sometimes known as a wordbook, is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically, which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc. or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon. It is a lexicographical reference that shows inter-relationships among the data.

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Pierre Bayle was a French philosopher and writer best known for his seminal work the Historical and Critical Dictionary, publication beginning in 1697.

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The Dictionnaire universel, contenant generalement tous les mots françois was a dictionary and encyclopedia compiled by Antoine Furetière and published posthumously in 1690. Unlike the rival dictionary of the Académie française, finally published in 1694, Furetière's Dictionnaire included specialized technical and scientific vocabulary. It was also an encyclopedia of sorts in dealing with things as well as words. Despite having been banned in France, it was a commercial success and exerted an enormous influence on eighteenth-century French dictionaries and encyclopedias.


  1. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Furetière, Antoine". Encyclopædia Britannica . 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 357.
  2. Walter W. Ross, "Antoine Furetière's Dictionnaire universel," in Notable Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Nine Predecessors of the Encyclopédie (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1981), 53-54.
  3. Steven Moore, The Novel, An Alternative History: 1600-1800 (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 800 n.253.
  4. Alain Rey, "Antoine Furetière, imagier de la culture classique," vol. 1 of Le Dictionnaire universel d'Antoine Furetière, facsimile edition (Paris: SNL - Le Robert, 1978), 54.
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