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Home | Themes | Arts, sciences and letters - Literature | Guillaume Du Bartas (1544-1590)
Guillaume Du Bartas (1544-1590)
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Du Bartas was a diplomat, a poet, and a fervent Calvinist.


A diplomat and a learned poet

Guillaume de Salluste, lord Du Bartas, was born at Montfort near Auch in 1544.

He became a doctor in law in 1567 and was a gentleman to king Henri de Navarre's chamber , Henri IV to be, as early as 1585. He was sent on various diplomatic missions by the king, notably to James VI of Scotland in 1587.

He took part in the wars of religion, and was wounded during the Ivry battle in 1590.

His major work Semaine ou création du Monde (A week or the creation of the World) was published in 1578 and earned him immediate fame. It was a splendid saga in alexandrines telling the story of the creation of the world based on the Genesis.

His account of the first seven days of the world was fraught with stories from the Bible, but also with the latest scientific findings. His outstanding erudition enabled him to present a complete inventory of Renaissance period knowledge.

Two lines from the Semaine ou création du Monde (book I, lines 83 and 84) could be considered as Du Bartas's motto :

« Ains costoye la rive ayans la Foy pour voile,

l'Esprit saint pour nocher, la Bible pour estoile. »

(Thus I fare, faith is the sail,

the Spirit is the pilot, the Bible is a star).

Bibliography
Books
Du Bartas, French Huguenot poet and his humorous ambivalence, Edwin Mellen Press, New York, 1998
, Droz, Genève, 1992
BELLENGER, Yvonne, Du Bartas et ses divines Semaines, SEDES, Paris, 1993
DAUPHINE James (études réunies et publiées par), Guillaume Saluste Du Bartas, 1590-1990, Actes du Colloque international d'Auch-Le Bartas-Pau, 6-8 avril 1990, Eurédit, Paris, 1992
DU BARTAS, Guillaume, La Semaine ou création du monde, Actes Sud, Arles, 1988
PELLISIER, Georges, La vie et les œuvres de Du Bartas, Slatkine, Genève, 1969
PRIEUR M., Le monde et l'homme de Du Bartas, SEDES, Paris, 1993
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