François Villon and Adoption

tock woodcut image, used to represent François Villon in the 1489 printing of the Grand Testament de Maistre François Villon




Villon was born into a poor family, although he had an uncle who was a well-to-do priest. While still a young child he was adopted by Guillaume de Villon, a priest.

His adult life was that of a criminal (including the murder of a priest and robberies from churches and his priest uncle) - he spent time in Prison, was banished to the provinces, and narrowly escaped hanging. But he was also one of the greatest poets of his period.

His works were extremely popular in his own time and have remained important landmarks of French literature. The 1930 film, The Vagabond King, is a highly romanticized version of his life.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Reference Guide to World Literature, edited by Lesley Henderson. (New York: St. James Press, 1995) Stevenson, Robert Louis. Familiar Studies of Men and Books. Many editions. Also available at: