Pierre de La Primaudaye

Pierre De La Primaudaye

Pierre de La Primaudaye

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Pierre de La Primaudaye (1546–1619) was a French writer. He is known particularly for L'Academie Française, which was influential in English translations, from 1584 onwards, particularly The French Academie of 1618.

La Primaudaye came from a large Protestant family in Anjou. There is little evidence about his childhood, but it is known that one of his brothers was executed for killing a member of the gentry, since La Primaudaye refers to his sadness over this event. In 1580 he was a gentilhomme de la chambre (gentleman of the bedchamber) for Francis, Duke of Anjou, the youngest son of king Henry II of France. In this position he published a a large variety of books on intellectual topics, most notably L'Academie Française, which summarised philosophical and scientific knowledge of the era. Stuart Gillespie describes it as a "prose compendium of scientific, moral and philosophical knowledge". It may have been used as a source by Shakespeare.Stuart Gillespie, Shakespeare's Books, 2001, p. 277.

La Primaudaye followed L'Academie Française with a similar work on religious matters, La Philosophie chrestienne de l'Academie françoise (the Christian philosophy of the French Academy), a book published in 1598 and signed "From Primaudaye, advisor and steward of the King."

La Primaudaye's work has an essay-like character, with some similarities to Montaigne, but he is consistently pious rather than sceptical in tone.

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