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Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes

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Querelle des Classiques et des Modernes


Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes (the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) is the expression normally used by literary historiography to designate the intellectual debate that took place in France in the second half of the seventeenth century, between the partisans of classical language and ancient literature and the partisans of modern language and literature.

The controversy, which emerged in the restricted context of the members of the Académie française but immediately spread until it reached the République des lettres (Republic of Letters), determined the polarization of academic circles into two “parties”: a “party of the Ancients,” whose main exponent was Nicolas Boileau (1636–1711), and a “Modern party” represented by Charles Perrault (1628–1703).

The defenders of the Ancients – besides Nicolas Boileau, their leader – include authors such as Racine, Arnauld, La Bruyere, Fleury, and La Fontaine. The party of the...

Related Topics

  • Académie française
  • République des lettres
  • Nicolas Boileau
  • Charles Perrault
  • Bernard Le Bouyer de Fontenelle
  • Jean Racine

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Correspondence to Andrea Costa .

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Costa, A. (2020). Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes . In: Jalobeanu, D., Wolfe, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. Springer, Cham.

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