Honore De Bueil Racan - Encyclopedia


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HONORE DE BUEIL RACAN, MARgUIS DE (1589-1670), French poet, was born at the chateau of La Roche-Racan in 1589. He became page at the court of Henry IV. and then entered the army, seeing some active service. Racan was very poor and was practically uneducated, for, if his own account may be credited, he had not learnt even Latin. But in middle life he inherited some property, and he was thus able to devote himself to the practice of poetry, in which he was the faithful, and perhaps the most distinguished, disciple of Malherbe. He had known Malherbe when he was a page at the court of Henry IV., and had early contributed to the fashionable albums of the day. In 1625 he published his most important work, Bergeries, a dramatic pastoral in five acts, a part of which, entitled Arthenice, was played in 1618. Racan was also the author of Sept psaumes (1631), Odes sacrees tirees des psaumes de David (1651), Dernie` res a uvres et poesies chretiennes (1660), in all of which he was hampered by his inability to read the sacred writings except in other French paraphrases. He was one of the original members of the French Academy. He died in February 1670.

His Ouvres completes were edited by Tenant de Latour in 1857, and the edition includes a biographical notice. See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi.

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