Villemain, Abel François (äbĕlˈ fräNswäˈ vēlmăNˈ) [key], 1790–1870, French scholar and critic. He was a professor at the Sorbonne from 1816, held several government posts after 1830, and was permanent secretary of the French Academy from 1832. As minister of public instruction (1839–44) he was largely responsible for a reorganization of libraries in France and for promoting the passage of a law assuring academic freedom. His reputation as a literary critic was established by his Cours de littérature française (1830), several times reedited and enlarged, which included his notable Tableau de la littérature au moyen âge and Tableau de la littérature française au XVIIIe siècle.
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