Gingi - Encyclopedia

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GINGI, or Gingee, a rock fortress of southern India, in the South Arcot district of Madras. It consists of three hills, connected by walls enclosing an area of 7 sq. m., and practically impregnable to assault. The origin of the fortress is shrouded in legend. When occupied by the Mahrattas at the end of the 17th century, it withstood a siege of eight years against the armies of Aurangzeb. In 1750 it was captured by the French, who held it with a strong force for eleven years. It surrendered to the English in 1761, in the words of Orme, "terminated the long hostilities between the two rival European powers in Coromandel, and left not a single ensign of the French nation avowed by the authority of its government in any part of India." Ginguene, Pierre Louis (1748-1815), French author, was born on the 27th of April 1748 at Rennes, in Brittany. He was educated at a Jesuit college in his native town, and came to Paris in 1772. He wrote criticisms for the Mercure de France, and composed a comic opera, Pomponin (1777). The Satire des satires (1778) and the Confession de Zulme (1779) followed. The Confession was claimed by six or seven different authors, and though the value of the piece is not very great, it obtained great success. His defence of Piccini against the partisans of Gluck made him still more widely known. He hailed the first symptoms of the Revolution, joined Giuseppe Cerutti, the author of the Memoire pour le peuple francais (1788), and others in producing the Feuille villageoise, a weekly paper addressed to the villages of France. He also celebrated in an indifferent ode the opening of the states-general. In his Lettres sur les confessions de J.-J. Rousseau (1791) he defended the life and principles of his author. He was imprisoned during the Terror, and only escaped with life by the downfall of Robespierre. Some time after his release he assisted, as director-general of the "commission executive de l'instruction publique," in reorganizing the system of public instruction, and he was an original member of the Institute of France. In 1797 the directory appointed him minister plenipotentiary to the king of Sardinia. After fulfilling his duties for seven months, very little to the satisfaction of his employers, Ginguene retired for a time to his country house of St Prix, in the valley of Montmorency. He was appointed a member of the tribunate, but Napoleon, finding that he was not sufficiently tractable, had him expelled at the first "purge," and Ginguene returned to his literary pursuits. He was one of the commission charged to continue the Histoire litteraire de la France, and he contributed to the volumes of this series which appeared in 1814, 1817 and 1820. Ginguene's most important work is the Histoire litteraire d'Italie (14 vols., 1811-1835). He was putting the finishing touches to'the eighth and ninth volumes when he died on the 11 th of November 1815. The last five volumes were written by Francesco Salfi and revised by Pierre Daunou.

In the composition of his history of Italian literature he was guided for the most part by the great work of Girolamo Tiraboschi, but he avoids the prejudices and party views of his model.

Ginguene edited the Decade philosophique, politique et litteraire till it was suppressed by Napoleon in 1807. He contributed largely to the Biographie universelle, the Mercure de France and the Encyclopedie methodique; and he edited the works of Chamfort and of Lebrun. Among his minor productions are an opera, Pomponin ou le tuteur mystifie (1777); La Satire des satires (1778); De l'autorite de Rabelais dans la revolution presente (1791); De M. Neckar (1795); Fables nouvelles (18to); Fables inedites (1814). See "Eloge de Ginguene" by Dacier, in the Memoires de l'institut, torn. vii.; "Discours" by M. Daunou, prefixed to the 2nd ed. of the Hist. litt. d'Italie; J. Garat, Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages de P. L. Guingene, prefixed to a catalogue of his library (Paris, 1817).

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