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Title: The intellectual development of La Fontaine
Author: Nwaozuzu, Basil S. C.
ISNI:       0000 0000 2887 9361
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1976
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La Fontaine's literary and intellectual evolution is characterized by a hesitant and conscientious exploring of side-tracks which require to be analysed in order to appreciate the complex realities behind the poet s literary creation. His life which spanned three quarters of a century is divided in this study into six broad stages, corresponding more or less to the major events and influences on his career: childhood education, the search for literary models, the creation of intellectual poetry, the approach to maturity, intellectual maturity, old age and decline. These stages are considered as a series of intellectual experiences culminating in the formation of La Fontaine's personality as a literary artist and an epicurean moralist. The poet became an intellectual after undergoing various experiences from the world around him. His curious and eclectic temperament made him highly susceptible to all sorts of influences as well as kept his mind constantly on the move, from one literary genre to another, from literature to philosophy, philosophy to science, science to history and thence back to literature. This intellectual mobility drew inspiration from various sources, both ancient and modern, to which La Fontaine was exposed. Thus the formation of his mind and art owes a lot to the complex and interacting influences of such ancient writers and thinkers as Plato, Homer, Epicurus, Horace, Lucretius, Ovid, Apuleius, Virgil, Seneca, and nearer home, Montaigne, Marot, Malherbe, Gassendi, Malebranche, Spinoza, Leibniz and others. La Fontaine took something from each of these thinkers for the building of his own intellectual personality. It mattered little to him whether their influences were of the past or of his own generation; he submitted to them in his own particular manner so long as they represented his ideal and conception of life. La Fontaine was generously endowed with the innate powers of imagination, observation and sensitivity which, coupled with his amiable disposition, won him numerous admirers, friends and influential patrons who aided his intellectual growth. This growth, the subject of our study, is reflected in the mature reaction of the poet's particular genius to the problems posed by his age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Romance Literature