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
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.