Fénelon, François de Salignac de La Mothe-


Fénelon, François de Salignac de La Mothe-
born Aug. 6, 1651, Château de Fénelon, Périgord, France
died Jan. 7, 1715, Cambrai

French archbishop, theologian, and man of letters.

Though generally conservative, his The Education of Young Gentlewomen (1687), based on his experience directing a women's college, supported liberal education and argued against coercing Protestants to convert. As tutor to a grandson of Louis XIV, he composed his best-known work, the novel Les Aventures de Télémaque (1699), but the political ideas it seemed to express offended Louis, who banished him from the court. He was similarly condemned by the church for his leanings toward Quietism, which emphasized spiritual passivity. His liberal views on politics and education exerted a lasting influence on French culture.

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▪ French archbishop and writer

born Aug. 6, 1651, Château de Fénelon, Périgord, Fr.
died Jan. 7, 1715, Cambrai
 French archbishop, theologian, and man of letters whose liberal views on politics and education and whose involvement in a controversy over the nature of mystical prayer caused concerted opposition from church and state. His pedagogical concepts and literary works, nevertheless, exerted a lasting influence on French culture.

      Descended from a long line of nobility, Fénelon began his higher studies in Paris about 1672 at Saint-Sulpice seminary. Ordained a priest in 1676, he was appointed director of Nouvelles Catholiques (“New Catholics”), a college for women who instructed converts from French Protestantism. When King Louis XIV heightened the persecution of the Huguenots (French Calvinists) in 1685 by revoking the Edict of Nantes, Fénelon strove to mitigate the harshness of Roman Catholic intolerance by open meetings with the Protestants (1686–87) to present Catholic doctrine in a reasonable light. While unsympathetic to Protestant belief, he equally repudiated forced conversions.

      From his pedagogical experiences at Nouvelles Catholiques, he wrote his first important work, Traité de l'éducation des filles (1687; “Treatise on the Education of Girls”). Although generally conservative, the treatise submitted innovative concepts on the education of females and criticized the coercive methods of his day.

      In 1689, with the support of the renowned bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne), Fénelon was named tutor to Louis, Duke (duc) de Bourgogne, grandson and heir to Louis XIV. For the prince's education, Fénelon composed his best-known work, Les Aventures de Télémaque (1699), in which the adventures of Telemachus in search of his father, Ulysses, symbolically expressed Fénelon's fundamental political ideas. During the period of his popularity in official circles, Fénelon enjoyed various honours, including his election to the French Academy in 1693 and his selection as archbishop of Cambrai in 1695.

      Anxious about his spiritual life, Fénelon sought an answer from the Quietist school of prayer. Introduced in October 1688 to Quietism's leading exponent, Mme Guyon, Fénelon sought from her some means of personally experiencing the God whose existence he had intellectually proved. But his search for spiritual peace was short-lived. Bossuet and other influential people at court attacked Mme Guyon's teaching, and a document investigating Quietism's doubtful orthodoxy even obtained Fénelon's signature. When Bossuet, however, next launched a personal attack on Mme Guyon, Fénelon responded with Explication des maximes des saints sur la vie intérieure (1697; “Explanation of the Sayings of the Saints on the Interior Life”). Defending Mme Guyon's integrity, Fénelon not only lost Bossuet's friendship but also exposed himself to Bossuet's public denunciation. As a result, Fénelon's Maximes des saints was condemned by the pope, and he was exiled to his diocese.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe- — • French bishop and author, b. in the Château de Fénelon in Périgord (Dordogne), 6 August, 1651; d. at Cambrai, 7 January, 1715 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe — (1651 1751)    prelate, writer, theologian    François de salignac de la Mothe Fénelon, whose theories and publications, despite the opposition of church and state, eventually became the basis for profound cultural and political changes in France …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe — (1651–1715)    Archbishop, Educator and Devotional Writer.    Fénelon was born in Périgord, France and was educated at the seminary of St Sulpice. After ordination, he became Superior of a house for recent converts from Protestantism and then led …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de La Mothe- — (6 ago. 1651, castillo de Fénelon, Périgord, Francia–7 ene. 1715, Cambrai). Arzobispo, teólogo y literato francés. Aunque de talante conservador, en su tratado La educación de las jóvenes (1687), basado en su experiencia como director de un… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • FÉNÉLON, FRANÇOIS DE SALIGNAC DE LA MOTHE —    a famous French prelate and writer, born in the Château de Fénélon, in the prov. of Périgord; at the age of 15 came to Paris, and, having already displayed a remarkable gift for preaching, entered the Plessis College, and four years later… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe — ► (1651 1715) Prelado y escritor francés. Al cuidado de la catequización de los protestantes, adquirió gran renombre por su labor de conciliación, después de haber sido revocado el Edicto de Nantes. Preceptor de uno de los nietos de Luis XIV,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon — Fénelon Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fénelon (homonymie). François de Salignac de La Mothe Fénelon …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon — (* 6. August 1651 auf Schloss Fénelon im Périgord; † 7. Januar 1715 in Cambrai) war ein französischer Geistlicher und Schriftsteller. Leben und Schaffen François Fénelon Fénelon, wie er bei den französischen (Literar )Historikern schlicht heißt,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon — (1641 ndash; 1679), was a Sulpician missionary in New France. He was the half brother of François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai and ten years older.Little is known of François in his early years until he left for the missions of New France in… …   Wikipedia


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