Jean Chapelain

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chapelain, Jean


Born Dec. 4, 1595, in Paris; died there Feb. 22,1674. French writer and literary theorist.

Chapelain was a founding member of the Académie Française. In his Letter on the Twenty-four Hour Rule (1630) and his two treatises on representative poetry (1635), he anticipated N. Boileau’s work on the literary theory of classicism. He wrote odes, sonnets, madrigals, and works of historiography and literary history. Chapelain’s epic poem The Maid (cantos 1–12, published 1656; cantos 13–24, published 1882) was burlesqued by Voltaire.


Opuscules critiques. Paris, 1936.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1946. Pages 377–78, 380.
Bray, R. La Formation de la doctrine classique de France. Paris, 1927.
Hunter, A. C. Lexique de lalangue de J. Chapelain. Geneva, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The anonymous author of Clorinde also apparently subscribed to the position that prose fiction lacked form and simply depicted life as it was when he wrote that many novels "imitate so well everything that ordinarily happens in life that we could say they expose a portrait of all humankind, where we each see and recognize ourselves." (6) Jean Chapelain, a member of the original Academie Francaise whose harsh condemnation of a theatrical work based on its ostensible implausibility we will see below, applied the rules of classical literature to prose fiction, and he, too, found the genre lacking in form.
Jean Chapelain, who viewed the novel's stringing together of adventures as part of its grande imperfection, was one of the two authors of the Academie Francaise's first official literary judgment, a critical condemnation of Pierre Corneille's Le Cid.
(7) Jean Chapelain, Lettre on discours de Monsieur Chapelain it Monsieur Favereau, Conseiller du Roi en sa cour des aides portant son opinion sur le poeme d'Adonis du Chevalier Marino (Paris, 1623), vi, x; subsequent references are parenthetic.
Money was bestowed only after consultation between Colbert and experts such as Jean Chapelain and Charles LeBrun.
(12) Jean Chapelain, "Lettres de Chapelain a Colbert" in Pierre Clement (ed.), lettres, instructions et memoires de Colbert, V (Paris, 1868), 587-623.