Charles Perrault, a French author, horn in Paris, Jan. 12, 1628, died there, May 16, 1703. He was educated at the college de Beauvais, studied law, and was admitted to practise at the Paris bar in 1651. In 1654 he entered as a clerk the employment of his brother, who held an office in the department of finance. He rose rapidly in the department, largely through the influence of Colbert, and filled the places of head clerk and afterward of superintendent of the royal'buildings. He was admitted to the academy in 1671, where he exercised much influence and introduced great reforms. Perrault produced a great number of works, from an early burlesque on part of the AEneid, written before his examination for the bar, to the book he considered his most important one, Parallele des anciens et des modernes (4 vols., 1688-98), and his volume of biographies, Homines illustres du siecle de Louis XIV. (folio, 1696-1701). His writings were on subjects of every kind, and comprised poems, dramas, burlesques, compilations, histories, etc.; but all, including the two works above named, have long been practically forgotten, except his collections of fairy tales.

These Contes des fees, appearing between 1670 and 1702, were considered by him of little consequence; but they attained great popularity, and have been translated into many languages. His Memoires were published at Avignon in 1759. - His elder brother Claude (1613-'88), originally a physician and afterward an architect, was the author of the plans for the new Louvre and the observatory, of a translation of Vitruvius, and of other architectural books.