1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Conrart, Valentin

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CONRART (or Conrard), VALENTIN (1603–1675), one of the founders of the French Academy, was born in Paris of Calvinist parents. He was educated for a commercial life; but after his father’s death in 1620 he began to come into contact with men of letters, and soon acquired a literary reputation, though he wrote nothing for many years. He was made councillor and secretary to the king; and in 1629 his house became the resort of men of letters, who met to talk over literary subjects, and to read and mutually criticize their works. Cardinal Richelieu offered the society his protection, and in this way (1635) the French Academy was created. Its first meetings were held in the house of Conrart, who was unanimously elected secretary, and discharged the duties of his post for forty-three years, till his death on the 23rd of September 1675. The most important of Conrart’s works is his Mémoires sur l’histoire de son temps published by L. J. N. de Monmerqué in 1825.

See also R. Kerviler and Édouard de Barthelemy, Conrart, sa vie et sa correspondance (1881); C. B. Petitot, Mémoires relatifs à l’histoire de France, tome xlviii.; and Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi (19 juillet 1858).