Jean-François Marmontel

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Jean-François Marmontel

Jean-François Marmontel (11 July 1723 – 31 December 1799) was a French historian and writer, a member of the Encyclopédistes movement.

The Encyclopédistes were members of the Société des gens de lettres, a French writers' society, who contributed to the development of the Encyclopédie from June 1751 to December 1765 under the editors Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. The composition of the 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates of the Encyclopédie was the work of over 150 authors belonging, in large part, to the intellectual group known as the philosophes. They promoted the advancement of science and secular thought and supported tolerance, rationality, and open-mindedness of the Enlightenment.

Contents

Biography

He was born of poor parents at Bort, Limousin (today in Corrèze). After studying with the Jesuits at Mauriac, Cantal, he taught in their colleges at Clermont-Ferrand and Toulouse; and in 1745, acting on the advice of Voltaire, he set out for Paris to try for literary success. From 1748 to 1753 he wrote a succession of tragedies (Denys le Tyran (1748); Aristomene (1749); Cleopâtre (1750); Heraclides (1752); Egyptus (1753)), which, though only moderately successful on the stage, secured Marmontel's introduction into literary and fashionable circles.

Bort-les-Orgues Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bort-les-Orgues is a commune in the Corrèze department in central France.

Corrèze Department of France

Corrèze is a department in south-western France, named after the river Corrèze which runs though it. Its capital is Tulle, and its most populated town is Brive-la-Gaillarde.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men which originated in sixteenth-century Spain. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

He wrote a series of articles for the Encyclopédie evincing considerable critical power and insight, which in their collected form, under the title Eléments de Littérature, still rank among the French classics. He also wrote several comic operas, the two best of which probably are Sylvain (1770) and Zémire et Azore (1771). In the Gluck Piccinni controversy he was an eager partisan of Piccinni with whom he collaborated in Roland (Piccinni) (1778) and Atys (1779), both using Jean Baptiste Lully's libretto by Quinault as basis, Didon (1783) and Penelope (1785).

<i>Encyclopédie</i> general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, better known as Encyclopédie, was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It had many writers, known as the Encyclopédistes. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

Christoph Willibald Gluck composer

Christoph WillibaldGluck was a composer of Italian and French opera in the early classical period. Born in the Upper Palatinate and raised in Bohemia, both part of the Holy Roman Empire, he gained prominence at the Habsburg court at Vienna. There he brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices for which many intellectuals had been campaigning. With a series of radical new works in the 1760s, among them Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste, he broke the stranglehold that Metastasian opera seria had enjoyed for much of the century. Gluck introduced more drama by using simpler recitative and cutting the usually long da capo aria. His later operas have half the length of a typical baroque opera.

<i>Roland</i> (Piccinni) opera by Niccolò Piccinni

Roland is a tragédie lyrique in three acts by the composer Niccolò Piccinni. The opera was a new setting of a libretto written by Philippe Quinault for Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1685, specially adapted for Piccinni by Jean-François Marmontel and based on Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso. The opera was first performed on 27 January 1778 by the Académie Royale de Musique at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal.

In 1758 he gained the patronage of Madame de Pompadour, who obtained for him a place as a civil servant, and the management of the official journal Le Mercure , in which he had already begun the famous series of Contes moraux. The merit of these tales lies partly in the delicate finish of the style, but mainly in the graphic and charming pictures of French society under King Louis XV. The author was elected to the Académie française in 1763. In 1767 he published Bélisaire, now remarkable in part because of a chapter on religious toleration which incurred the censure of the Sorbonne and the archbishop of Paris. Marmontel retorted in Les Incas (1777) by tracing the cruelties in Spanish America to the religious fanaticism of the invaders.

Madame de Pompadour chief mistress of Louis XV of France

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, commonly known as Madame de Pompadour, was a member of the French court and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, and remained influential as court favourite until her death.

The Mercure de France was originally a French gazette and literary magazine first published in the 17th century, but after several incarnations has evolved as a publisher, and is now part of the Éditions Gallimard publishing group.

Louis XV of France Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre 1715–1774

Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took sole control of the kingdom.

He was appointed historiographer of France (1771), secretary to the Academy (1783), and professor of history in the Lycée (1786). As a historiographer, Marmontel wrote a history of the regency (1788). Reduced to poverty by the French Revolution, Marmontel retired during the Reign of Terror to Evreux, and soon afterwards to a cottage at Abloville (near Saint-Aubin-sur-Gaillon) in the département of Eure. There he wrote Memoires d'un père (4 vols., 1804), including a picturesque review of his life, a literary history of two important reigns, a great gallery of portraits extending from the venerable Jean Baptiste Massillon, whom more than half a century previously he had seen at Clermont, to Honoré Mirabeau. The book was nominally written for the instruction of his children. It contains an exquisite picture of his own childhood in the Limousin; its value for the literary historian is great.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Reign of Terror period during the french revolution

The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established.

Cottage typically, a small house

A cottage is, typically, a small house. It may carry the connotation of being an old or old-fashioned building. In modern usage, a cottage is usually a modest, often cosy dwelling, typically in a rural or semi-rural location.

Marmontel lived for some time under the roof of Mme Geoffrin, and was present at her famous dinners given to artists; he was welcomed into most of the houses where the encyclopaedists met, and was a contributor to the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers . [1] He thus had at his command the best material for his portraits, and made good use of his opportunities. After a short stay in Paris when elected in 1797 to the Conseil des Anciens, he died at Abloville. [2]

Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin French salon-holder

Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin was a French salon holder who has been referred to as one of the leading female figures in the French Enlightenment. From 1750–1777, Madame Geoffrin played host to many of the most influential Philosophes and Encyclopédistes of her time. Her association with several prominent dignitaries and public figures from across Europe has earned Madame Geoffrin international recognition. Her patronage and dedication to both the philosophical men of letters and talented artists that frequented her house is emblematic of her role as guide and protector. In her salon on the Rue Saint-Honoré, Madame Geoffrin demonstrated qualities of politeness and civility that helped stimulate and regulate intellectual discussion. Her actions as a Parisian salonnière exemplify many of the most important characteristics of Enlightenment sociability.

He was a member of the Masonic lodge Les Neuf Sœurs.

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him. [3] In his autobiography, John Stuart Mill credits Memoires d'un père with curing him of depression. [4]

Works

Theatre

Marmontel published many opera librettos and mostly operas comiques librettos, a genre in which he excelled but could not compete with Charles-Simon Favart.

Poetry

Novels

Essays

Varia

Notes

  1. Frank A. Kafker: Recherches sur Diderot et sur l'Encyclopédie. Année (1990) Volume 8 Numéro 8 p. 102
  2. Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, iv.; Morellet, Eloge (1805)
  3. John Ruskin: Sesame and Lilies
  4. Collected Works of John Stuart Mill (1981) London, Routledge, Vol. 1, (p. 145)
  5. Ce livre interdit a directement fait l'objet d'une critique Examen du Bélisaire de M. Marmontel

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