Family tree of Bernard LE BOVIER DE FONTENELLE



French author

Born on February 11, 1657 in Rouen , France

Died on January 09, 1757 in Paris , France

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Fontenelle was born in Rouen, France (then the capital of Normandy). He died in Paris just one month before his 100th birthday, living four times the average life expectancy at the time. His mother was the sister of the great French dramatists Pierre Corneille and Thomas Corneille. He was educated at the college of the Jesuits in Rouen, where he showed preference to literature and distinguished himself. He was the son of a lawyer and as was the custom at the time he was trained in his father's profession. He gave up law after pleading one case, and spent the rest of his life writing about philosophers and scientists, especially defending the Cartesian tradition. He was also a noted gourmand (a person who revels in the experience of eating food & drinking) and he attributed his longevity to the eating of strawberries. Whatever its cause, his health and vigor lasted until he died. Meeting him at ninety-two, one woman wrote that he was as lively (and as hungry) as a young man of twenty-two. When, in his late nineties he met the beautiful Mme Helvétius, he reportedly told her, "Ah Madame, if only I were eighty again!"

In 1935, the lunar crater Fontenelle was named after him.


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Geographical origins

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