MARMONTEL, JEAN FRANcOIS (I French writer, was born at Bort (in Cantal), on July 11, 1723. After studying with the Jesuits at Mauriac, he taught in their colleges at Clermont and Toulouse; and in acting on the advice of Vol-. taire, he set out for Paris to try for literary honours. From 1748 to 1753 he wrote a succession of tragedies which, though only moderately successful on the stage, secured the admission of the author to literary and fashionable circles. He wrote a series of articles for the Encyclopedie; also the libretti of several comic operas, among others Sylvain (1770) and Zemire et Azore (1771). In the Gluck-Piccini controversy he was an eager partisan of Piccini with whom he collaborated in Didon (1783) and Peng lope (1785). In 1758, through Madame de Pompadour, he ob tained a place as a civil servant, and the management of the offi cial journal Le Mercure, in which he had already begun the famous series of Contes moroux. The merit of these tales lies partly in the delicate finish of the style, but mainly in the graphic and charming pictures of French society under Louis XV. The author was elected to the French Academy in 1763. In 1767 he published a romance, Belisaire, which incurred the censure of the Sorbonne and the archbishop of Paris for a chapter on religious toleration. Mar
montel retorted in Les Incas (1778) by tracing the cruelties in Spanish America to the fanaticism of the invaders.
He was appointed historiographer of France (1771), secretary to the Academy (1783), and professor of history in the Lycee (1786). Marmontel retired in 1792 to Evreux, and soon of ter to a cottage at Abloville in the department of Eure. To that retreat we owe his Memoires d'un pere (4 vols., 1804, new ed. by M. Tour neux, 3 vols., 1891), giving a picturesque review of his whole life, a literary history of two important reigns, a great gallery of por traits extending from the venerable Massillon, whom more than half a century previously he had seen at Clermont, to Mirabeau. He died on Dec. 31, 1799 at Abloville.
The Contes Moraux were early translated into English, and many editions of them exist. A summary of the best of them is given by G. G. Saintsbury in Hist. of the French Novel, vol. i. (1917).