Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe

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Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe

(fräNswä` də sälēnyäk` də lä môt fānəlôN`), 1651–1715, French theologian and writer, a leader of the quietismquietism,
a heretical form of religious mysticism founded by Miguel de Molinos, a 17th-century Spanish priest. Molinism, or quietism, developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and spread especially to France, where its most influential exponent was Madame Guyon.
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 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 BossuetBossuet, Jacques Bénigne
, 1627–1704, French prelate, one of the greatest orators in French history. At an early age he was made a canon at Metz; he became bishop of Condom and was (1670–81) tutor to the dauphin (father of Louis XV), for whom he wrote his
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, which was settled in 1699 when Pope Innocent XII condemned Fénelon's writings.
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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.