Alain Chartier was a French poet and political writer.
He was born at Bayeux, into a family marked by considerable ability. His eldest brother Guillaume became bishop of Paris; and Thomas became notary to the king. Jean Chartier, a monk of St Denis, whose history of Charles VII is printed in vol. III. of Les Grands Chroniques de Saint-Denis, was not, as is sometimes stated, also a brother of the poet.
Alain studied, as his elder brother had done, at the University of Paris. His earliest poem is the Livre des quatre dames, written after the battle of Agincourt. This was followed by the Débat du reveille-matin, La Belle Dame sans mercy, and others. None of these poems show any very patriotic feeling, though Chartier's prose is evidence that he was not indifferent to the misfortunes of his country.
He followed the fortunes of the dauphin, afterwards Charles VII, acting in the triple capacity of clerk, notary, and financial secretary.
In 1422 he wrote the famous Quadrilogue invectif. The interlocutors in this dialogue are France herself and the three orders of the state. Chartier lays bare the abuses of the feudal army and the sufferings of the peasants. He rendered an immense service to his country by maintaining that the cause of France, though desperate to all appearance, was not yet lost if the contending factions could lay aside their differences in the face of the common enemy.