Lancelot, Claude, 1615—1695
by Benjamin Colbert
Claude Lancelot, French grammarian, was born in 1615 at Paris. From 1638, he became one of the Jansenist solitaires associated with the educational program and publications of the Port Royal des Champs, and helped found les Petites Écoles de Port Royal in the outskirts of the convent. From 1644, he wrote a series of influential grammars of various languages (Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish), applying a simple method suitable for children. With Antoine Arnauld, he also wrote the Grammaire générale (1660) or Port-Royal Grammar.
After renewed persecution of the Jansenists and dispersal of the Port Royal in the 1660s, Lancelot took a succession of posts as tutor to young noblemen. After 1678, he was exiled to Quimperlé in Bretagne, where he died in 1695.
The Oxford Companion to French Literature. Ed. Sir Paul Harvey and J. E. Heseltine. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
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