Jean-Jacques Lefranc, marquis de Pompignan

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Jean-Jacques Lefranc, marquis de Pompignan (August 7, 1709 - 1784), was a French poet.

He was born at Montauban, where his father was president of the cour des aides, and Jean-Jacques, who also went into law, took over the position in 1745. The same year he was also appointed conseiller d'honneur of the parlement of Toulouse, but his opposition to the abuses of the royal power, especially in the matter of taxation, brought him so much trouble that he resigned almost immediately, his marriage with a rich woman enabling him to devote himself to literature. His first play, Didon (1734), which owed much to Metastasio's opera on the same subject, was a great success, and gave rise to expectations not fulfilled by the Adieux de Mars (1735) and some light operas that followed.

His reputation was made by Pöésies sacrées et philosophiques (1734), much mocked at by Voltaire who punned on the title: "Sacrés ils sont, car personne n'y touche." Lefranc's odes on profane subjects hardly reach the same level, with the exception of the ode on the death of JB Rousseau, which secured him entrance to the Académie française (1760). On his reception he made an ill-considered speech violently attacking the Encyclopaedists, many of whom were in his audience and had voted for him. Lefranc soon had reason to repent of his action, for the epigrams and stories circulated by those he had attacked made it impossible for him to remain in Paris, and he returned to his native town, where he spent the rest of his life translating from the classics.

Jean-François de la Harpe, who is severe enough on Lefranc in his correspondence, does his abilities full justice in his Cours littéraire, and ranks him next to JB Rousseau among French lyric poets. With those of other 18th century poets his works may be studied in the Petits poétes français (1838) of M. Prosper Poitevin. His Œuvres complétes (5 vols.) were published in 1781, selections (2 vols.) in 1800, 1813, 1822.

His brother was Jean Georges Lefranc de Pompignan

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.


Preceded by:
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis
Seat 8
Académie française
Succeeded by:
Jean-Sifrein Maury
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