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(plē`ăd) [from PleiadesPleiades,
in Greek mythology, seven daughters of Atlas and the nymph Pleione. According to one legend they were the attendants of Artemis and were changed into stars by the gods when they were pursued by the amorous hunter Orion.
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], group of seven tragic poets of Alexandria who flourished c.280 B.C. under Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Of the works of the men usually given in lists of the Pleiad only those of LycophronLycophron
, fl. early 3d cent. B.C., b. Chalcis, Alexandrian Greek poet, one of the Pleiad. His only extant poem Cassandra or Alexandra, is an obscure and difficult work in iambic verse. In ancient times his tragedies were highly esteemed.
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 survive. A group of enthusiastic French poets took c.1553 the name Pléiade from the Alexandrian Pleiad. The conventional seven of this group are RonsardRonsard, Pierre de
, 1524–1585, French poet. As page, then squire, Ronsard seemed destined for a career at court both in France and abroad. However, deafness turned him to a more secluded and studious life at the Collège de Coqueret where he became leader of the
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 (the leader), Joachim Du BellayDu Bellay, Joachim
, 1522?–1560, French poet of the Pléiade (see under Pleiad). He wrote their manifesto, La Deffence et illustration de la langue francoyse
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, BelleauBelleau, Remy
, 1528–77, French poet of the Pléiade (see under Pleiad). His Bergerie (1565), a collection of poems in a framework of prose, celebrates nature in sonnets, odes, eclogues, and hymns.
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, JodelleJodelle, Estienne
, 1532–73, French poet of the Pléiade (see under Pleiad). He was the author of Cléopatre captive (1553), the first French tragedy that departed from medieval drama.
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, TyardTyard, Pontus de
, 1521?–1605, French poet of the Pléiade (see under Pleiad). The sonnets in his Erreurs amoureuses (3 vol., 1549–55) are imitative of Petrarch and are among the earliest written in France. He was bishop of Châlons from 1578 to 1592.
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, BaïfBaïf, Jean Antoine de
, 1532–89, French poet of the Pléiade (see under Pleiad). He wrote sonnets, didactic and satirical poems, and plays.
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, and DauratDaurat or Dorat, Jean
, 1508?–1588, French classical scholar. He taught (1546–56) at the Collège de Coqueret at Paris.
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. Their avowed purpose was to encourage the writing of French, as against Latin, in order to enrich the French language and to establish a modern literature equal to other literatures. They cultivated the use of classical and Italian forms, especially of the sonnet.


See G. Castor, Pléiade Poetics (1964); R. J. Clements, Critical Theory and Practice of the Pléiade (1942, repr. 1970).

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