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Jean de la Fontaine La Fontaine the most versatile and most widely celebrated nondramatic poet in seventeenth century France He has often experienced the misfortune of having the artistry of his works obscured by a host of myths half-truths prejudices and nonaesthetic issues This great poet has become a classic His fables on which his Reputations rests are part of the literary canon of French writers and are studied in schools His other works however have been rediscovered and are the object of quite a few recent studies Carter pg46 Very little is known about the early part of La Fontaines life He was born in Chteau-Thierry a small town in the province of Champagne some fifty miles northeast of Paris His baptism was entered in the parish of Saint-Crpin register on July 8 1621 Most take this as his actual birth date but according to the custom of the period it probably means that La Fontaine was born a day or two earlier Mackay pg4 He was the son of Charles de la Fontaine a royal government official who inspected forests and waterways His mother Franoise Pidoux who came from a nobler family from Poitou He also had a younger brother who was born two years after La Fontaine He also had an older step sister named Anne de Jouy on his mothers side of the family Carter pg 46 Burns 2 The education and formative years of young la Fontaine are not documented Most biographers state that in all likelihood he attended chteau- Thierry college This is a secondary institution where humanities were taught to the sons of the middle class Encarta npag He then attended a school at Reims From there he went to Paris to study medicine and theology but was drawn into the whirls of social life During that time he became qualified as a lawyer but never perused it In 1641 he went to the Oratory
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