François de Belleforest

Page from Belleforest's translation of the Cosmographia

François de Belleforest (1530 – 1 January 1583) was a prolific French author, poet and translator of the Renaissance.

He was born in Comminges, into a poor family, and his father (a soldier) was killed when he was seven. He spent some time in the court of Marguerite of Navarre, traveled to Toulouse and Bordeaux (where he met George Buchanan), and then to Paris where he came into contact with members of the young literary generation, including Pierre de Ronsard, Jean Antoine de Baïf, Jean Dorat, Remy Belleau, Antoine Du Verdier and Odet de Turnèbe. In 1568 he became historiographer to the king. He died in Paris.

Belleforest wrote on cosmography, morals, literature and history, and he translated the works of Matteo Bandello, Boccaccio, Antonio de Guevara, Lodovico Guicciardini, Polydore Vergil, Saint Cyprian, Sebastian Münster, Achilles Tatius, Cicero and Demosthenes into French. He is also the author of the first French pastoral novel, La Pyrénée (or La Pastorale amoureuse) (1571) modeled on the Diana of Jorge de Montemayor. His Grandes Annales are a polemic tract against François Hotman. His total output comprises more than 50 volumes.

His most successful work was most likely his translation and adaptation of the "histoires tragiques" by the Italian Matteo Bandello, which built on the work of Pierre Boaistuau and eventually amounted to seven volumes (1564-1582). One of these tales might be the source for Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Selected works

See also

Other major translators from his period:


    External links

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