Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de (16571757)

Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de, a miscellaneous French writer, born at Rouen, a nephew of Corneille, whose Life he wrote; was designed for the bar, but under his uncle's patronage embarked on a literary career in Paris; he vehemently upheld the moderns in the famous literary quarrel of Moderns versus Ancients, and brought upon himself the satirical attacks of Boileau and Racine; became Secretary and then President of the Académie des Sciences; died in his hundredth year; his vigorous and versatile nature found vent in a wide variety of writings—literary, scientific, and historical; author of “Dialogues of the Dead,” in imitation of Lucian, and “Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds”; is credited with the saying, “A man may have his hand full of truth, and yet only care to open his little finger,” and this other, “No man was ever written down but by himself” (16571757).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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