Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac

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Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac (31 May 1597[1] – 18 February 1654) was a French author, best known for his epistolary essays, which were widely circulated and read in his day. He was one of the founding members of Académie française.[citation needed]


Guez de Balzac was born at Angoulême. Originally thought to have been born in 1595, the date was revised in 1848 upon the discovery of a baptismal certificate dated June 1, 1597, although this is still controversial because his birth certificate contained sever irregularities.[2][3]:31 He was born in a well off bourgeois family, which also had acquired noble titles. In his youth, he studied at two Jesuit colleges in Angoulême and Poitiers, where he learned Latin well, especially rhetoric.[4]

In 1612, he met Théophile de Viau when de Viau's troupe visited Angoulême, and fled from home with the troupe.[3]:29[5] The two traveled together with the troupe for some time, but when the troupe arrived at Leiden, they enrolled as students at the city's university in May of 1615, although it's possible that they visited the university in 1613 as well.

His letters to his acquaintances and to important courtiers gained him a great reputation. Compliments were showered on him, and he became an habitué of the Hotel de Rambouillet. In 1624 a collection of his Lettres was published, and was received with great favour. From Chateau de Balzac, where he had retired, he continued to correspond with Jean Chapelain, Valentin Conrart and others.

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