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Dacier, Anne Lefèvre

, a famous French translator of the classics, was born at Saumur about 1654. She was the daughter of Tanneguy Lefèvre, a Huguenot scholar of some note. On her father's death, and when in her eighteenth year, she went to Paris, where she soon after published an edition of Callimachus, which secured for her a place among the editors of the Delphin Edition (q.v.) of the classics, for which she prepared notes on Florus, Dictys Cretensis, Aurelius Victor, and Eutropius. In 1681 appeared her prose version of Anacreon and Sappho, followed by similar translations of Terence, selected plays of Plautus and Aristophanes, the Iliad (1711), and the Odyssey (1716). It is by these translations that she will be longest remembered, as she brought to the work much spirit and enthusiasm, combined with a good share of literary insight, so that her renderings are still cited by modern scholars. In her versions of Homer especially, her direct, simple, and often homely language is admirably fitted to express the original. In defence of Homer against La Motte, she wrote a treatise Des Causes de la Corruption de la Goût (1714).

Mlle. Lefèvre married in 1683 M. André Dacier, who subsequently became secretary of the French Academy, and was himself a man of much erudition but little talent, so that he was wittily described as un gros mulet chargé de tout le bagage de l'antiquité. Both husband and wife received pensions from the king. Mme. Dacier died at the Louvre, where her husband was librarian, August 17, 1720. See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries de Lundi, and Burette's Éloge sur Mme. Dacier.

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