From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
L'Astrée (1607-1627) is novel by French author Honoré d'Urfé. In the 18th century, "Celadon," the name of its protagonist, had become a byword for amorousness. An adaptation of l'Astrée, by French director Eric Rohmer, was released in 2007 under the title The Romance of Astrea and Celadon.
It was in Savoy that Honoré d'Urfé conceived the plan of his novel Astrée, the scene of which is laid on the banks of the Lignon River in his native province of Forez. It is a leisurely romance in which the loves of Celadon and Astrée are told at immense length with many digressions. The recently discovered circumstances of the marriages of the brothers have disposed of the idea that the romance is autobiographical in its main idea, but some of the episodes are said to be but slightly veiled accounts of the adventures of Henry IV. The shepherds and shepherdesses of the story are of the conventional type usual to the pastoral, and they discourse of love with a casuistry and elaborate delicacy that are by no means rustic.
The first part of Astrée appeared in 1607, the second in 1610, the third in 1619, and in 1627 the fourth part was edited. In 1628 a fifth was added by D'Urfé's secretary Balthazar Baro. Astrée set the fashion temporarily in romance narratives, and no tragedy was complete without wire-drawn discussions on love in the manner of Celadon and Astrée. The best edition of Astrée is that of 1647.
Memory and legacy
In 1757 the work was sufficiently in the public consciousness, or at any rate "Celadon" had become a byword for amorousness, to be referred to in passing by an Italian guest of Casanova.
An adaptation of l'Astrée, by French director Eric Rohmer, was released in 2007 under the title Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon (in English-speaking territories its title was The Romance of Astrea and Celadon). It was nominated for a Golden Lion at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, and star Andy Gillet won an Étoile d'Or in 2008 for Best Male Newcomer for his performance as Céladon.