At the Cité de la langue française, Gallimard presents its Pléiade de la Pléiade

At the Cité de la langue française, Gallimard presents its Pléiade de la Pléiade
At the Cité de la langue française, Gallimard presents its Pléiade de la Pléiade

After taking us to visit the archaeological sites of AlUla in the desert of Saudi ArabiaMarie Sorbier continues her Grand Tour by taking us to the International City of the French Language which opened its doors last November in Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne. The site hosts numerous events to highlight the French language, and it is for this reason that Gallimard editions decided to come and present their new Pléiade, the 671st, dedicated to the Pléiadethis group of poets from the second half of the 16th century, led by Ronsard and Du Bellay, who perfected the French language.

The opportunity to first discover this new City of Language which is taking place in the castle of Villers-Cotterêts built by François 1ᵉʳ at the beginning of the 16th century. The place entered posterity thanks to the famous ordinance of 1539 that the king signed there and which imposed French as the sole language for legal and administrative acts. It is the oldest text of law to still be in force, almost 500 years after its promulgation. The castle, which had been falling into ruin for several decades, was chosen in 2018 by President Emmanuel Macron to host this City of Language. A place that offers visitors a permanent route and a program of events around the language. And as its director Paul Rondin reminds us, this place is not fixed as a museum could be: “It is not at all a museum, it is not at all a conservatory of the language, it is on the contrary a place where we show that French is doing well because it is plural and that a language is extremely alive because it changes, because it is constantly increased. It is truly a place of demonstration of what language is (…) because once again the language is alive because. it is constantly composed, decomposed and recomposed.”

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Gallimard therefore chose this location to officially present the latest volume of its Bibliothèque de la Pléiade collection. Rarely, this 671st volume is a collective work since it contains the poems and texts of La Pléiade, this group of poets who greatly contributed to the enrichment of the French language. Titled La Pléiade – Poetry, poeticswe find in this copy texts by Joachim Du Bellay, Pierre de Ronsard, Jean-Antoine de Baïf, Jean Dorat… It is therefore both a poetic anthology, but also a portrait of this era : “It is a sort of chronicle of the emergence of the Pléiade, that is to say of their first texts. (…) I insisted that the prefaces of the texts that they sent to each other both allow us to reconstruct a sort of history, or rather a chronicle even of these years because I believe that it is a key moment in poetic history” explains Mireille Huchon who directed this edition.

This Pléiade de la Pléiade is therefore an important event for Gallimard and it is for this reason that the famous publishing house wanted to present this new volume within this International City of the French Language as detailed by Hugues Pradier, the director editorial from La Pléiade: “Basically, what the ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts achieved for the French language, legal and administrative, the poets of La Pléiade achieved for the literary French language. It’s really the same approach, it’s that is to say enrich the language, impose it as the language of an entire nation, of an entire country, and ensure that it is not poor as in their opinion it could be in previous centuries. there is truly a desire to enrich the language and basically, this is the image that Villers-Cotterêts also gives.”

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