Jean Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin
A French dramatist and novelist, born in Paris, 1595, died there, 1676. Early in life he held various offices at court, was counsellor of the king, and secretary of the marine in the Levant. He became a member of the salon of the Hôtel Rambouillet, and contributed the well-known verses on the violet for the "Guirlande de Julie". Later he became a member of the French Academy and its first chancellor. Cardinal Richelieu, his protector, induced him to write for the theatre. His first tragedy "Aspasie", although a work of no great merit, had a brilliant success, 1636, owing to the cardinal's protection. Among the plays that followed we may mention: "Les Visionnaires", "Scipion", "Roxane", "Mirame", and "L' Europe ". The plots of the last two had evidently been inspired by the cardinal ; "L' Europe " gives a picture of Richelieu's conception of the political situation in Europe. Of his novel, "Ariane", La Fontaine declares that its plot is very good; another novel, "Roxane", was left unfinished.
In 1645 he became a devout Christian, and thereafter he devoted his literary abilities chiefly to pious works. He wrote a metrical version of the Office of the Blessed Virgin, and of the "Imitation of Christ" , and other religious poems, e.g. "Marie-Magdeleine" or "Grâce Triomphante".
In his "Clovis ou la France chrétienne", an epic poem in twenty-six cantos, he attempts to describe the Divine origin of the French monarchy. In this, his greatest work, in spite of its many faults, his patriotism and his love of old legends, which pervade the poem, often give it a peculiar charm. Owing to the criticism of Boileau, who opposed the introduction of the miraculous in literature, the poem proved a failure. In its defence Desmarets-Sorlin wrote an essay comparing French prose and poetry with that of the Greeks and Latins, and thus opened the celebrated controversy between the ancients and the moderns which lasted for many years. In this work he maintained that the French language is superior to all others, that modern can surpass ancient literature, and that the miraculous intervention of xxyyyk.htm">Providence is to be preferred to the machinery of the pagan poets. Desmarets-Sorlin was a consistent adversary of the Jansenists of Port-Royal.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
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.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
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