French, 1818 - 1894
Leconte de Lisle, Charles-Marie-Rene
The poet Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle was born in 1818, on the island of La Réunion, a French possession off the east coast of Madagascar. Leconte went to Brittany in 1837, in the care of his uncle, Louis Leconte, deputy mayor of Dinan, to prepare himself for the study of law at the University of Rennes. After completing a baccalaureate in 1838, the preliminary requirement for admission to the university, he was expected to begin his actual law studies. Instead, he gave most of his time and energy to his readings in classical literature, helped to start a short-lived literary journal, and neglected his legal preparations. In January 1841 Leconte tardily and without distinction passed his first-year examination, which gave him the status of a bachelier en droit, but he refused to present himself for the second-year examination, and in the summer of 1842 definitely abandoned his legal studies. After another ill-starred attempt at journalism, short of funds and in disgrace with his family, he took ship for La Réunion in early 1843.