Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe

(redirected from Fenelon, Francois de Salignac de la Mothe)

Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe

Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe (fräNswäˈ də sälēnyäkˈ də lä môt fānəlôNˈ), 1651–1715, French theologian and writer, a leader of the quietism heresy, archbishop of Cambrai. As tutor to the duke of Burgundy, he wrote Télémaque (1699), holding up Ulysses as an example for the young prince. Other writings include a treatise (1687) on female education, and Explications des maximes des saints (1697), mystical instructions in faith for which Fénelon was banished to Cambrai, where he devoted himself to pastoral duties. His Lettre à l'Académie (1716) recommended literary activities for the French Academy. His quietism brought a long quarrel with his former patron Bossuet, which was settled in 1699 when Pope Innocent XII condemned Fénelon's writings.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe


Born Aug. 6, 1651, in the Chateau de Fénelon, Périgord; died Jan. 7, 1715, in Cambrai. French writer and ecclesiastical figure. Member of the Académie Française (1693). Archbishop of Cambrai (1695).

As a quietist, Fénelon carried on a polemic with N. de Malebranche and J. B. Bossuet. From 1689 to 1699, Fénelon was the tutor of the Duke of Burgundy, the grandson of Louis XIV. He made a prose translation of the Odyssey (1694–96) for his pupil and wrote for him a number of other works, including the novella The Adventures of Aristonicus (1699; Russian translation, 1766), Dialogues of the Deceased (published 1712; Russian translation, 1768), the prose Fables (published 1718; Russian translation, 1768), and the utopian philosophical novel The Adventures of Telemachus (1699; Russian translation, 1747). The hero of this novel becomes acquainted with various types of government. As the narration proceeds, Fénelon attacks despotism and defends enlightened monarchy, an approach that made the work popular during the Enlightenment. The plot of Fénelon’s novel was the basis of V. K. Trediakovskii’s narrative poem of the same name (1766).


Oeuvres complétes, vols. 1–10. Paris, 1848–52.
Les Aventures de Télémaque. Edited by J.-L. Goré. Paris, 1968.
Correspondance, vols. 1–3. Paris, 1972.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 575–78.
Goré, J.-L. L’ltinéraire de Fénelon: Humanisme et spiritualité. Paris, 1957.
Haillant, M. Fénelon et la prédication. Paris, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.