Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/René le Bossu

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BOSSU, René le, an eminent French critic, born at Paris, March 16, 1631. He studied at Nanterrc. and in 1 649 entered among the regular canons of Sainte-Genevievc. After having acted as professor in different religious houses for twelve years, he withdrew into retirement. His first publication was ParalUle d<s Principes de In Physique d Aristote et de celle de Rene Descartes, which appeared in 1674, but met with little success. His next work, entitled Traite du Poeme Epiquc, was published in 1 675, and often reprinted afterwards. Its leading doctrine is that the subject should be chosen before the characters, and that the action should be arranged without reference to the personages who are to figure in the scene. Boileau, in his Third Reflexion on Longinus, pronounced this work " 1 un des meilleurs livres de poetique qui, du consentemeut de tous les habiles gens, aient etd faits en notre langue." It may be mentioned, however, that Bossu is said to have defended Boileau against Saint-Sorlin, and to have received his thanks for that service ; and a sense of obligation may perhaps have dictated the commendation which Boileau bestowed on the work. Bossu died March 14, 1G80.