Jean de la Fontaine this rascal

History of France- Behind the scenes of history

January 27, 1671: But what a scoundrel this Jean de La Fontaine is, he publishes libertine tales. Between two animal fables, the poet relaxes by writing licentious tales

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Jean de la Fontaine

On January 27, 1671, La Fontaine received the first copies of his third volume of libertine tales, which his printer had finished printing. Hush! Don’t tell it to the children, but the fabulist is a little rascal. He was not satisfied with writing fables featuring animals for the instruction of the Dauphin, he also wrote licentious tales under the pretext of denouncing the hypocrisy of his century. Especially that of the Church people who fuck happily despite their vows of chastity. As usual, he draws his inspiration from ancient authors, Boccaccio and many others. He plundered the licentious collection of the Hundred Short Stories (fifteenth-century fabliaux). Between 1664 and 1666, he published his first Contes et nouvelles en vers libertins (Stories and short stories in libertine verse) collected in two volumes. Then, in 1668, he published 128 animal fables of the highest decency. 

The Complete Tales and Trifles of Jean De La Fontaine by Jean de La Fontaine  | Waterstones

With his libertine tales, the subtle La Fontaine handles his pen with lightness, he tricks the verses with delicacy. There is no gravelly language, no pornography. Nothing that could frighten an uninformed reader who would see nothing but fire. It is necessary “to say without saying”. He is the prince of metaphor to bypass the words condemned by propriety. To evoke the penis, he calls upon the snake. And so that his reader understands the metaphor well, he adds the adjective “cursed”, thus meaning that the word “snake” is “badly said”. La Fontaine does not use the trivial expression “to make love”, but “the devil in hell”. The “devil” replaces “the male sex”, and “hell”, of course, the “female sex”. Thus he veils each too explicit word of a sometimes opaque, sometimes transparent gauze.

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Forbidden sale…
The stories of cuckoldry constitute his trade. Thus, the tale of “La mandragore” puts in scene Callimaque in love with Lucrèce, the wife of the Florentine Nicia Calfucci. To put his devil in hell, while the main concerned wants to remain faithful to her husband, Callimaque elaborates a Machiavellian stratagem, he makes believe to the husband that he knows a secret remedy so that his wife gives him finally the hoped child. It is necessary to make him drink mandrake juice. But the cunning man warns: the first man who caresses Lucretia after drinking the potion will drop dead. So the husband has to find a good soul to wipe the slate clean. The rest, we can guess: Callimaque disguises himself as a miller to slip into the bed of the beautiful virtuous woman with the blessing of the husband.

In 1674, La Fontaine let loose completely. He publishes his last series of tales, where the terms become more precise. The metaphors fly in the face of the “fleeces”, to the point that an ordinance of the chief of police Gabriel Nicolas de La Reynie forbids their sale. Here is one of the works of the great La Fontaine entitled “Aimons, foutons”.

Let’s love, let’s fuck, these are pleasures
That we must not separate;
The enjoyment and the desires
Are what the soul has of rarest.
Of a life, of a cunt and of two hearts
Is born an agreement full of sweetness
That the devotees blame without cause.
Amaryllis, think well:
To love without cumming is little,
To cum without loving is nothing.

In 1693, two years before his death, La Fontaine renounced his licentious tales. Before a delegation of the Academy, he promised to write only “works of piety”. The pious and modest Madame de Maintenon, morganatic wife of Louis XIV, had been there.

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