Antoine Furetière

1619 (Paris) – 1688 (Paris)

Furetière is known for the breadth of his writing, but renowned for compiling the first dictionary of the French language, regarded as the greatest encyclopaedic dictionary of the 17thC. Close to the greatest writers of the age, Molière and La Fontaine were friends, Racine and Boileau literary colleagues. The Académie française charged Furetière, a member, with lexicographic plagiarism; he lost La Fontaine’s long friendship as a result. Bayle, already exiled, persuaded Furetière to have his dictionary published in Holland and wrote a preface. Published posthumously, it stood the test of time and influence notably better than the Académie’s own effort.

Antoine Furetière knew…