Pleiad (plē´ăd) [from Pleiades], group of seven tragic poets of Alexandria who flourished c.280 BC under Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Of the works of the men usually given in lists of the Pleiad only those of Lycophron survive. A group of enthusiastic French poets took c.1553 the name Pléiade from the Alexandrian Pleiad. The conventional seven of this group are Ronsard (the leader), Joachim Du Bellay, Belleau, Jodelle, Tyard, Baïf, and Daurat. Their avowed purpose was to encourage the writing of French, as against Latin, in order to enrich the French language and to establish a modern literature equal to other literatures. They cultivated the use of classical and Italian forms, especially of the sonnet.
See G. Castor, Pléiade Poetics (1964); R. J. Clements, Critical Theory and Practice of the Pléiade (1942, repr. 1970).