1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sorel, Charles

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SOREL, CHARLES, Sieur de Souvigny (1597-1674), French novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born in Paris about 1597. Very little is known of his life except that in 1635 he was historiographer of France. He wrote on science, history and religion, but is only remembered by his novels. He tried to destroy the vogue of the pastoral romance by writing a novel of adventure, the Histoire comique de Francion (1622). The episodical adventures of Francion found many readers, who nevertheless reserved their admiration for the Astrée it was intended to ridicule. Sorel decided to make his intention unmistakable, and in Le Berger extravagant (3 vols., 1627) he wrote a burlesque, in which a Parisian shop-boy, his head turned by sentiment, chooses an unprepossessing mistress and starts life as a shepherd with a dozen sheep on the banks of the Seine. Sorel did not succeed in founding the novel of character, and what he accomplished was more in the direction of farce, but he struck a shrewd blow at romance. Among his other works are Polyandre (1648) and La Connaissance des bons livres (1673). He died in Paris on the 8th of March 1674.