( Née Lefèvre)
The wife of André Dacier, born at Saumur in 1651; died 17 April 1720. She received the same instruction as her brother and at the age of twenty-three published an edition of fragments from the Alexandrian poet Callimachus (Paris, 1674). She divided her time between translations (Anacreon and Sappho, 1681; several plays by Plautus and Aristophanes, 1683-1684; Terence, 1688; Plutarch's "Lives" in her husband's translations, "The Iliad", 1699, "The Odyssey", 1708) and the editions of the collection Ad usum Delphini (Florus, 1674); Dictys and Dares, 1684, and Aurelius Victor, 1681). She had a certain vigour that her husband lacked; "In intellectual productions common to both," says an epigram used by Boileau, "she is the father." In the notice of Dacier in the "Siècle de Louis XIV" Voltaire declares: "Madame Dacier is one of the prodigies of the century of Louis XIV ," However, she was no bluestocking and refused to give her opinion in scholarly debates, agreeing with Sophocles that "silence is the ornament of women." She reared her three children admirably.
But Madame Dacier belongs to the history of French literature and, in a measure, to the history of ideas because of her participation in the dispute about the ancients and moderns. In 1699 Madame Dacier published a translation of "The Iliad" with a preface which was a reply to Homer's critics. It was only in 1713 that Houdart de la Motte, a wit and unpoetic versifier, published a translation of "The Iliad" in verse. The poem was reduced to twelve cantos, all its so-called prolixity was eliminated and it was revised in accordance with eighteenth century taste and made "reasonable and elegant". Madame Dacier refuted this attack in "Les causes de la corruption du goût" (Paris, 1714). The dogmatic part of this work consists of an analysis of the "Dialogue on Orators" by Tacitus and Madame Dacier added clever remarks on the influence of climates. La Motte replied humourously and courteously in his "Réflexions sur la critique" (Paris, 1714). In the course of the same year Fénelon, in his letter on the doings of the French Academy, ably and solidly defended the ancients, thus rendering their supporters a signal service. But the quarrel was prolonged, and in 1716 the Jesuit Hardouin published an apology for Homer. It was a new system of interpreting "The Iliad" and Madame Dacier attacked it in "Homère défendu contre l'apologie du P. Hardouin on suite des causes de la corruption du goût" (Paris, 1716).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online