Jean de La Fontaine was born four centuries ago, on July 8, 1621 in Château-Thierry. Inspired by the fabulists of Greco-Latin antiquity, and in particular by Aesop, he wrote more than two hundred and forty Fables, bringing this hitherto minor genre to a degree of accomplishment that remains unequalled. Moralist without being moralistic, La Fontaine uses animals to depict human failings, thus taking a lucid look at human nature and power relationships.
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In the months of January and February, students in Groups 2 and 3 in Monotheism and The Middle East course studied Islamic history and literature. Students read poetry by Sufi poets Rabi’a al-addawiyyah, Rumi, and Hafez, and reflect on the poetry’s mystical themes of divine love, separation, the self, self-annihilation, asceticism, and transcendence.