La Pléiade (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: The Pléiade is a name given to a group of loosely organized poets dedicated to raising the level of sophistication of the French language by adding words and genres derived from classical literature. Led by Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay, they developed a new form of poetry based on forms such as the sonnet, the ode, epic, and elegy. They also worked to elevate the level of the poet to a position as an intermediary between humanity and the heavens.
The most famous member of the Pléiade, Pierre de Ronsard, was born in 1524 in what is now the département of Loire-et-Cher. He came from a prominent family, and his father, Louis de Ronsard, was a gentleman of the court. As a youth, he was trained for a diplomatic or military career, and at the age of twelve he became a page at the royal court of France assigned to serve the children of Francis I. After the marriage of the woman he served, Madeline, to James Stuart of Scotland, he moved to the Scottish court. He accompanied the ambassador Lazare de Baïf on an assignment to Alsace in 1540 and later to Turin. He became ill shortly after his return, and he lost most of his hearing in 1553. He abandoned what was a promising diplomatic career and devoted himself to scholarship and poetry.
Lazare de Baïf had employed the master hellenist Jean Dorat to tutor his son, Jean-Antoine de Baïf. Although Dorat fancied himself a great...
(The entire section is 1966 words.)
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