Louis Racine - Encyclopedia




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LOUIS RACINE (1692-1763), French poet, second son of Jean Racine, was born in Paris on the 6th of November 1692. Early conscious of a vocation for poetry, he had been dissuaded from following his inclination by Boileau on the ground that the gift never existed in two successive generations. In 1722 his small means induced him to accept a position in the revenue in Provence, but a marriage with a certain Mademoiselle Presle secured his independence. In 1755 he lost his son in the disasters consequent on the Lisbon earthquake. This misfortune, commemorated by Ecouchard Lebrun, broke Racine's spirit. He sold his library, and gave himself up entirely to the practice of religion. In 1719 he had become a member of the Academie des Inscriptions, but had never offered himself as a member of the Academie Francaise, for fear, it is said, of incurring refusal on account of his Jansenist opinions. La Grace (1720) and Religion (1742), his most important work, are inspired by a sincere piety, and are written in verse of uniform clearness and excellence. His other works include epistles, odes, among which the Ode sur l'harmonie (1736) should be mentioned, Memoires (1747) of Jean Racine, and a prose translation of Paradise Lost (1753). Louis Racine died on the 29th of January 1763. He was characterized by Voltaire as "le bon versificateur Racine, fils du grand poete Racine." His CEuvres completes were collected (6 vols.) in 1808.

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