Jean Chapelain, a French poet, born in Paris, Dec. 4, 1595, died there, Feb. 22, 1074. His father wished him to adopt his own pro-fession of notary: but his mother, who had known Ronsard, roused his literary ambition, and he studied foreign languages and also medicine. He became a teacher of Spanish, and afterward was for 17 years in the service of the family of .M. de la Trousse, grand provost of France, first as tutor and afterward as steward. After the arrival in Paris of Marini, the Italian poet, he wrote a preface for his Adone, translated into French Guzman de Alfarache, and dedicated odes to Richelieu, Mazarin, and other prominent men(1646-57). Richelieu gave him a pension of 5,000 francs for his lessons in poetry, and consulted him in regard to the foundation of the academy, of which Chapelain was one of the first members. He regulated its functions, drew up the plan of a dictionary and a grammar, and was the literary reviewer of Le Cid on behalf of the new institution. In 1672 Colbert employed him in defining the position of contemporary writers for the guidance of the king in awarding pensions.
His prose was better than his verse, and his La Pucelle, on which he had been engaged for 20 years, made him the butt of Boileau, and later of Voltaire, whose kindred work was published by him as a parody of Chapelain's. Nevertheless, after the publication of the first 12 cantos in 1656, six editions were rapidly sold within 18 months. The remaining 12 cantos were never published; the MS. of the whole work, revised by the author, is preserved in the national library, and several other MS. copies of the last 12 cantos are extant. He was a friend of Boileau, La Fontaine, Racine, and Moliere. The last named, whom he had aided in his earlier comedies, dispensed with his literary assistance after Chapelain's luckless attempt in preparing for him a scene of Les facheux. He was however extremely popular, and his eulogy was pronounced by D'Alem-bert. He was a gourmet, and was said to have chiefly admired his mistress Mine. Chouars because of her excellent wines. His and Bachau-mont's experience as fellow travellers are recorded in the Voyage de Ckapelle et Bachau-mont, one of his most popular works.
Tenant de Latour published in 1854 his posthumous poems, together with Le voyage d'Encausse. A comic opera based upon the adventures of Chapelle and Bachaumont, was produced under that title in Paris in 1858.