Death and the Unhappy Man book cover

Death and the Unhappy Man

"Death and the Unhappy Man" is a philosophical book by Jean de La Fontaine. It explores the topic of mortality through a dialogue between an elderly, unhappy man and death personified. The man, dissatisfied with his life, continually pleads with death to take him, while death, despite its terrifying image, explains its natural role in the cycle of life. The book brings about reflections on the value of life, fear of death, and the human tendency to be unhappy despite life's fleeting nature.

Genre: Fable

A Miserable Man incessant prayed To Death for aid. "Oh, Death!" he cried. "I love thee as a friend! Come quickly, and my life's long sorrows end!" Death, wishing to oblige him, ran, Knocked at the door, entered, and eyed the man. "What do I see? begone, thou hideous thing! The very sight Strikes me with horror and affright! Begone, old Death!--Away, thou grisly King!" Mecænas (hearty fellow) somewhere said; "Let me be gouty, crippled, impotent and lame, 'Tis all the same. So I but keep on living. Death, thou slave! Come not at all, and I shall be content." And that was what the man I mention meant.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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