of the literature of a century, gave this as his opinion about the comparative contributions of the two sexes: “For solidity of reasoning, force, and depth, men alone are sufficient [il ne faut que des hommes]. For a natural elegance [une elegance naive], for a fine and piquant simplicity, for the delicate recognition of the proprieties, and for a certain flower of wit [une certaine fleur d'esprit], you must have men who have been polished by the society of women.”
It was, to be sure, Fontenelle
who said on another occasion that there were three things which he had always loved very much without knowing anything about them-music, poetry, and women; yet here he showed that he knew something of women, at least in their influence on men. As a member of the famous French Academy, the “Forty immortals” --on his election among whom he pleased himself with the thought that there were now only thirty-nine men in France
who were wiser than himself-he had reason to recognize what women had done for French literature.
itself, the chief literary association of the world, grew indirectly out of an association of women.
When in 1600 the beautiful Catherine dea Pisani
was married to the Marquis de Rambonillet
, and changed the name of the great mansion which had borne her Italian
mother's name to that of Hotel de Rambonillet
, she there began a series of literary receptions