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ALAIN CHARTIER (c. 1392—c.1430)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 953 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALAIN CHARTIER (c. 1392—c.1430), French poet and political writer, was born at Bayeux about 1392. Chartier belonged to a family marked by considerable ability. His eldest brother Guillaume became bishop of Paris; and Thomas became notary to the king. Jean Chartier, a monk of St Denis, whose history of Charles VII. is printed in vol. iii. of Les Grands Chroniques de Saint-Denis (1477), was not, as is sometimes stated, also a brother of the poet Alain studied, as his elder brother had done, at the university of Paris. His earliest poem is the Livre des quatre dames, written after the battle of Agincourt. This was followed by the Debat du reveille-satin, La Belle Dame sans merci, and others. None of these poems show any very patriotic feeling, though Chartier's prose is evidence that he was not indifferent to the misfortunes of his country. He followed the fortunes of the dauphin, afterwards Charles V7L, acting in the triple capacity of clerk, notary and financial secretary. In 1422 he wrote the famous Quadrilogue-invectif. The interlocutors in this dialogue are France herself and the three orders of the state. Chartier lays bare the abuses of the feudal army and the sufferings of the peasants. He rendered an immense service to his country by maintaining that the cause of France, though desperate to all appearance, was not yet lost if the contending factions could lay aside their differences in the face of the common enemy. In 1424 Chartier was sent on an embassy to Germany, and three years later he accompanied to Scotland the mission sent to negotiate the marriage of Margaret of Scotland, then not four years old, with the dauphin, afterwards Louis XI. In 1429 he wrote the Livre d'esperance, which contains a fierce attack on the nobility and clergy. He was the author of a diatribe on the courtiers of Charles V'll. entitled Le Curial,decessor. See Maned, Alain Chartier, etude bibliographique et litteraire, 8vo (Paris, 1849) ; D. Delaunay's Etude sur Alain Chartier (1876), with considerable extracts from his writings. His works were edited by A. Duchesne (Paris, 1617). On Jean Chartier see Vallet de Viriville, " Essais critiques sur les historiens originaux du regne de Charles VIII," in the Bibl. de l'Ecole des Charles July—August 1857).
End of Article: ALAIN CHARTIER (c. 1392—c.1430)

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