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Definition: Perrault, Charles from Philip's Encyclopedia

French poet and prose writer. A leading member of the Académie Française from 1671, he is best remembered for Tales of Mother Goose (1697).

Summary Article: Perrault, Charles
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


French writer

Born in Paris, he studied law, and from 1654 to 1664 worked for his brother, the receiver-general of Paris. In 1663 he became a secretary or assistant to Jean-Baptiste Colbert. His poem, Le Siècle de Louis le Grand (1687, "The Century of Louis XIV"), and Nicolas Boileau's outspoken criticisms of it, opened up the dispute about the relative merits of the ancients and moderns. To the modern cause Perrault contributed his poor Parallèle des anciens et des modernes (1688-96, "Comparison of the Ancients and the Moderns"), and his Hommes illustres qui ont paru en France pendant ce siècle (1696-1700, "Great Men Who Emerged in France this Century"). His Mémoires appeared in 1769. All his writings would have been forgotten but for his eight inimitable fairy tales, the Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (1697, Eng trans Perrault's Popular Tales, 1888), including "Belle au bois dormant" ("The Sleeping Beauty"), "Le Petit chaperon rouge" ("Red Riding Hood") and "Barbe-Bleue" ("Bluebeard").

  • Soriano, M, Les contes de Perrault (1968).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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