academie francaise

academie francaise defined in 1939 year

academie francaise - Academie Francaise;
academie francaise - Same of one of the most famous literary societies in Europe. It is the chief of the five Academies of which the Institute of France is composed. Its beginnings were very humble. In 1630 ten friends met in the house of a Calvinist named Valentin, Con-rart, to discuss artistic, literary, and scientific matters and questions of the day. In 1634 Richelieu heard of the society, and offered government patronage and authority. On Jan. 29, 1635, the society was declared an a,cademy bv royal edict, with Richelieu as its protecteur or patron.

By 1637 the number of members had been fixed at 40 (known as the Immortals), a limit since strictly maintained. Richelieu was succeeded in the protectorate by Chancellor Seguier, and in 1672 Louis XIV undertook the office, his example being followed by his two successors. During the revolutionary period its property was confiscated. On March 21, 1916, the Academy, which had been reconstituted in 1795 as one of the four classes (now academies) of the National Institute, was authorized to "resume its old name and regulations." Since then its history has been uneventful. The chief aim of the Academy is to safeguard the purity of the French language. Its first work was a criticism of the Cid of Corneille (1637). In the same year it undertook the compilation of a definitive French dictionary. This was published in 1694 and has since been under constant revision. In its eighth edition it is the stand-by of all modern French authors. The Academy remains a dominant literary influence, and its awards are coveted distinctions.

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