Henri IV.
Intellectual Life
Louis XIV.
Intellectual Life

Intellectual Life in France under Louis XIII. and in the early years of Louis XIV.'s reign

In religious terms, France's Huguenots found themselves under renewed pressure when Richelieu took office; the siege and fall of the "protestant capital", La Rochelle, 1627-28 practically meant the end of the Huguenots as a political factor.
Within France's Catholic church, JANSENISM, an interpretation of Catholicism that was based on the idea of PREDESTINATION, found many adherents. CORNELIUS JANSEN (1585-1638) was bishop of Ieper (Ypres, in Flanders). A synod of French bishops declared Jansenism a heresy in 1656. Many Jansenists, however, refused to give in; the convent of PORT ROYAL emerged as a center of Jansenism. In 1635 Cardinal Richelieu founded the ACADEMIE FRANC&CCedil;AISE. In 1640 at the Louvre the ROYAL PRINTING OFFICE (Imprimerie Royale) was established. In 1643, his successor CARDINAL MAZARIN opened his library to the public, thus providing the first library open for scientists and scholars.
LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (1613-1680), PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606-1684), MOLIERE (1622-1683) wrote literary works, writing in modern French, contributing to the standardization of grammar and spelling in the process.
Mathematician-philosopher BLAISE PASCAL wrote the pensees (1660); he was critical of the Jesuits and, in the PROVINCIAL LETTERS (1658ff), took the side of the Jansenists after the synod of 1656. RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650), another mathematician-philosopher published the DISCOURS DE LA METHODE, for which he is regarded one of the most important philosophers of modern history (1637). Although a Catholic, he was fearful of the Inquisition and went to the Dutch Republic, where he lived between 1628 and 1649, ending his life as instructor of Queen Christina of Sweden.

Timetables from the Book Information Website : 1515-1648, 1648-1814
Article Jansenius and Jansenism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, from infoplease
Biography of Blaise Pascal, from collection of mathematical biographies, from Catholic Encyclopedia , with timeline from ORST
Biography of Rene Descartes, from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Academie Francaise : Histoire, in French
DOCUMENTS Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 1671 edition, modern orthography, from la Bibliotheque Universelle, in French
Rene Descrartes, Discours de la Methode, from la Bibliotheque Universelle, in French

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

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