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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Jean Macé (1815–1894)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
JEAN MACÉ was a benign child-lover, and never lost the childlike simplicity and zest in life which characterize his style. He was born in Paris in 1815; and his parents, plain working-people who were ambitious for their boy, gave him unusual advantages for one of his class. His course at the Collège Stanilaus was not completed without self-sacrifice at home which made him prize and improve his opportunities. At twenty-one he became instructor in history in the same college, and he was teaching in the Collège Henri IV., when he was drafted as a soldier. After three years’ service he was bought out by his friend and former professor M. Burette, whose private secretary he became. Always interested in politics, and an ardent republican, he welcomed the revolution of 1848 with an enthusiasm which involved him in difficulties a few years later. With the restoration of the Empire under Louis Napoleon he was banished; and in exile, at the age of thirty-seven, he discovered his true vocation.  1
  The “Little Château,” at Beblenheim in Alsace, was a private school for girls, kept by his friend Mademoiselle Verenet, who now offered Macé a position as teacher of natural science and literature. He loved to teach, loved to impart fact so that it might exercise a moral influence upon character; and he was very happy in the calmly busy life at Beblenheim, where, as he says, “I was at last in my true calling.”  2
  In 1861 he published the ‘Histoire d’une Bouchée de Pain,’—a simple yet comprehensive work on physiology, made as delightful as a story-book to child readers. Its wide popularity both in French, and in an English translation as ‘The Story of a Mouthful of Bread,’ prompted a sequel, ‘Les Serviteurs de l’Estomac’ (The Servants of the Stomach), also very successful. But the ‘Contes du Petit Château,’ a collection of charming fairy tales written for his little pupils, is Macé’s masterpiece. These stories are simple lessons in thrift, truth, and generosity, inculcated with dramatic force and imaginative vigor. Translated as ‘Home Fairy Tales,’ they have long been familiar to English and American children.  3
  After ten years at Beblenheim, Macé returned to Paris, where in company with Stahl he established the popular Magasin d’Éducation et de Récréation. One of his strongest desires has always been to extend educational influences; and for this purpose he established in 1863 the Société des Bibliothèques Communales du Haut Rhin, and later organized a League of Instruction for increasing the number of schools and libraries. He died in 1894.  4
 
 
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