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Antoine Godeau: ” Les tableaux de la penitence”

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Antoine Godeau (1605– 1672) was a French bishop, poet and exegete. He is now known for his work of criticism Discours de la poésie chrétienne from 1633. His verse-writing early won the interest of a relative in Paris, Valentin Conrart, at whose house the literary world gathered. The outcome of these meetings was the foundation of the Académie française, of which Godeau was one of the first members and the third whose lot it fell to deliver the weekly address to that body.

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First edition, published in 1654, Paris, chez Augustin Courbe​​​​

Tables of penance. By Messire Antoine Godeau, Bishop of Vence. … Godeau, Antoine

The man behind the book

Antoine Godeau (1605– 1672) was a French bishop, poet and exegete. He is now known for his work of criticism Discours de la poésie chrétienne from 1633. His verse-writing early won the interest of a relative in Paris, Valentin Conrart, at whose house the literary world gathered. The outcome of these meetings was the foundation of the Académie française, of which Godeau was one of the first members and the third whose lot it fell to deliver the weekly address to that body.

He soon became a favorite at the Hôtel de Rambouillet,rivalling the famous writers of his period. At that time, to say of any work c’est de Godeau was to stamp it with the seal of approval. Perhaps best known among the works of his early days is his Discours sur les œuvres de Malherbe, which shows some critical power and is valuable for the history of the French prose of the seventeenth century.

In 1636, he was named Bishop of Grasse by Richelieu, to whom he had dedicated his first religious composition, a poetical paraphrase of the Psalm Benedicite omnia opera Domini. He proved a model prelate. By a Bull of Pope Innocent X he was empowered to unite the Dioceses of Grasse and Vence under his administration, but seeing the dissatisfaction of the clergy of the latter diocese, he relinquished the former and established himself at Vence.