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Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de

Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (bĕrnär´ lə bōvyā´ də fôNtənĕl), 1657–1757, French writer; nephew of Corneille. His forte was the interpretation of science. His works include Dialogues des morts (1683), observations on man; Histoire des oracles (1687), attacking superstition; L'Origine des fables (1724), on the origin of religions; and Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1686), an exposition of the Copernican system. As secretary (1699–1741) of the Académie royale des Sciences, Fontenelle paved the way for the ideas of the Enlightenment.

See The Achievement of Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (selected works, tr. and introd. by L. M. Marsak, 1970).

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