Pléiade, the

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Pléiade, the


a French Renaissance school of poetry formed in 1549 and named in honor of a group of seven Alexandrian poets of the third century B.C. It included P. de Ronsard, J. du Bellay, J.-A. de Baïf, É. Jodelle, R. Belleau, J. Dorat, and P. de Tyard.

The poets of the Pléiade cultivated the genres of the ode, sonnet, elegy, eclogue, comedy, and tragedy and appealed for a national epic tradition. They insisted that poetry had a social purpose and strove to enrich the French language. The Pléiade developed civic motifs, the theme of nature, and the genre of the love lyric. Their later works reveal a gradual infiltration of classical and baroque characteristics.


La Pléiade française, vols. 1–19. Published by C. Marty-Laveaux (Appendix, vols. 1–2). Paris, 1886–98.
In Russian translation:
Poety frantsuzskogo Vozrozhdeniia. Leningrad, 1938.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 269–303.
Clements, R.-J. Critical Theory and Practice of the Pléiade. Cambridge, 1942.
Chamard, H. Histoire de la Pléiade, new ed., vols. 1–5. Paris, 1961–63.
Castor, G. Pléiade poetics. Cambridge, 1964.
Lumières de la Pléiade. Paris, 1966.


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In particular, when these poets are other members of the Pleiade, the group whose cause Du Bellay championed with his Deffence et illustration de la langue francoyse, Du Bellay uses the allusive, epistolary possibilities of Les Regrets to delimit the boundaries of his artistic milieu and further refine his poetic program.
Of the two Swiss sonnets, which are satirical in character, the piece entitled "Suisse" (sonnet 135) is addressed to a member of the Pleiade, the poet Remy Belleau, and describes the gluttony and barbarity of the Swiss.