La Boétie, Étienne de

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La Boétie, Étienne de

(ātyĕn` də lä bôāsē`), 1530–63, French judge and writer. He served with Montaigne in the Bordeaux parlement and is immortalized in Montaigne's essay on friendship. La Boétie's writings include a few sonnets, translations from the classics, and an essay attacking absolute monarchy, Discours sur la servitude volontaire; ou Contr'un (tr. 1735, 1942).

La Boétie, Étienne de


Born Nov. 1, 1530, in Sarlat; died Aug. 18, 1563, in Germignan; French humanist, poet, and publicist.

La Boétie graduated from the faculty of law at the University of Orléans. His poems in Latin and French were published in 1571 by his close friend, Montaigne. La Boétie became known through the publication of his political treatise Disquisition on Voluntary Slavery (1576; Russian translation and commentary by F. A. Kogan-Bernshtein, 2nd ed., Moscow, 1962), directed against absolute monarchy and defending man’s right to freedom. His treatise was used by the French monarchomachs during the religious wars. Substantial excerpts were translated and published by L. N. Tolstoy.


Oeuvres complètes. Bordeaux, 1892.


Radtsig, N. I. “Et’enn de Laboesi.” In the collection Srednie veka, issue 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Paulus, C. Essai sur La Boétie. Brussels, 1949.