Albert Sorel

Albert Sorel (13 August 1842 – 29 June 1906) was a French historian. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times.[1]

Albert Sorel
Albert Sorel


He was born at Honfleur and remained throughout his life a lover of his native Normandy. His father, a rich manufacturer, wanted him to take over the business but his literary vocation prevailed. He went to live in Paris, where he studied law and, after a prolonged stay in Germany, entered the Foreign Office (1866). He had strongly developed literary and artistic tastes, was an enthusiastic musician (even composing a little), and wrote both poetry and novels (La Grande Falaise, 1785–1793, Le Docteur Egra in 1873); but he was not a socialite.[2] He was the first cousin to the philosopher Georges Sorel.[3]

Academic life

Anxious to understand present as well as past events, he was above all a student. In 1870 he was chosen as secretary by M. de Chaudordy, who had been sent to Tours as a delegate in charge of the diplomatic side of the problem of national defence. He proved a most valuable collaborator, full of finesse, good temper, and excellent judgment, and at the same time hard-working and discreet. After the war, when Emile Boutmy founded the Ecole libre des sciences politiques (which later became the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris or, as it is more widely known, Sciences Po). Sorel was appointed to teach diplomatic history (1872), a duty which he performed with striking success. Some of his courses were converted into books: Le traité de Paris du 20 novembre 1815 (1873); Histoire diplomatique de la guerre franco-allemande (1875); and the Précis du droit des gens which he published (1877) in collaboration with his colleague Theodore Funck-Brentano.[2]


In 1875 Sorel left the Foreign Office and became general secretary to the newly created office of the Présidence du sénat. Here again, in a position where he could observe and review affairs, he performed valuable service, especially under the presidency of Audiffret-Pasquier, who was glad to have Sorel's advice in the most serious crises of internal politics. His duties left him, however, sufficient leisure to enable him to accomplish the great work of his life, L'Europe et la révolution française.[4][5] His object was to repeat the work already done by Heinrich von Sybel but from a less restricted point of view and with a clearer and calmer understanding of the chessboard of Europe. He spent almost thirty years in the preparation and composition of the eight volumes of this diplomatic history; volume 1 appeared in 1885; volume 8 in 1904.[2] Francis Herrick says, "it is still the best analysis of the European state system in the eighteenth century and the classic introduction to the study of revolutionary and Napoleonic diplomacy."[6]

He was not merely a conscientious scholar; the analysis of the documents, mostly unpublished, on French diplomacy during the first years of the Revolution, which he published in the Revue historique (vol. v.-vii., x.-xiii.), shows with what scrupulous care he read the innumerable despatches which passed under his notice. He was also, and above all things, an artist. He drew men from the point of view of a psychologist as much as of a historian, observing them in their surroundings and being interested in showing how greatly they are slaves to the fatality of history. It was this fatality which led the rashest of the Conventionals to resume the tradition of the ancien régime, and caused the revolutionary propaganda to end in a system of alliances and annexations which carried on the work of Louis XIV. This view is certainly suggestive, but incomplete; it is largely true when applied to the men of the French Revolution, inexperienced or mediocre as they were, and incompetent to develop the enormous enterprises of Napoleon I.[2]

Literary works

In the earlier volumes the reader is struck by the grandeur and relentless logic of the drama which the author unfolds. In the later volumes the reader may begin to have reservations, but the work is so complete and so powerfully constructed that it commands its audiences admiration. Side by side with this great general work, Sorel undertook various detailed studies more or less directly bearing on his subject. In La Question d'Orient au XVIIIe siècle, les origines de la triple alliance (1878), he shows how the partition of Poland on the one hand reversed the traditional policy of France in eastern Europe, and on the other hand contributed towards the salvation of republican France in 1793. In the Grands écrivains series he was responsible for Montesquieu (1887) and Mme de Staël (1891). The portrait which he draws of Montesquieu is all the more vivid for the intellectual affinities which existed between him and the author of the Lettres persanes (Persian Letters) and the Esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws).[2]

Later, in Bonaparte et Hoche en 1797, he produced a critical comparison which is one of his most finished works (1896). In the Recueil des instructions données aux ambassadeurs he prepared vol. i. dealing with Austria (1884). Most of the articles which he contributed to various reviews and to the Temps newspaper have been collected into volumes: Essais d'histoire et de critique (1883), Lectures historiques (1894), Nouveaux essais d'histoire et de critique (1898), Etudes de littérature et d'histoire (1901). These writings contain a great deal of information and ideas not only about political men of the last two centuries but also about certain literary men and artists of Normandy. Honours came to him in abundance as an eminent writer and not as a public official. He was elected a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques (December 18, 1889) on the death of Fustel de Coulanges, and of the Académie française (1894) on the death of Hippolyte Taine.[2]


Sorel's work, especially on the downfall of Napoleon, has come under much criticism recently by revisionist historians. His view was that Napoleon was legitimately fighting for the long-established French aim of 'natural frontiers' and that Napoleon merely inherited a foreign 'situation' and therefore did not create his own foreign policy, which has been contended by recent historians, such as Matthew MacLachlan and Michael Broers. They stressed that Napoleon was a nonconformist general and that his actions abroad did not conform with any traditional French foreign policy.

Later years

His speeches on his two illustrious predecessors show how keenly sensible he was of beauty and how unbiased was his judgment, even in the case of those whom he most esteemed and loved. He had just obtained the great Prix Osiris of 100,000 francs, conferred for the first time by the Institut de France, when he was stricken with his last illness and died at Paris.[2] He was associated with Turkish poets like Yahya Kemal Beyatlı and the historian Yusuf Akçura.[7]


  1. ^ "Nomination Database". Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sorel, Albert" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 432–433.
  3. ^ Alain de Benoist, Vu de droite: anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 2001 [1977]), pp. 275–78.
  4. ^ Online editions:
  5. ^ "Review of L'Europe et la révolution française par Albert Sorel". The Quarterly Review. 207: 534–558. October 1907.
  6. ^ Francis H. Herrick, introduction to Albert Sorel, Europe under the Old Regime (1947) p vi. in Questia
  7. ^ Ahmet Ersoy, Maciej Gorny, Vangelis Kechriotis. "Yusuf Akçura: Three types of policy". Project Muse. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 10 January 2017.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links



was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1767th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 767th year of the 2nd millennium, the 67th year of the 18th century, and the 8th year of the 1760s decade. As of the start of 1767, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.


1906 (MCMVI)

was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1906th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 906th year of the 2nd millennium, the 6th year of the 20th century, and the 7th year of the 1900s decade. As of the start of 1906, the Gregorian calendar was

13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1906 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1906.

Albert Vandal

Albert Count Vandal (7 July 1853, Paris – 30 August 1910, Paris) was a French historian, born in Paris. He wrote:

En karriole à travers la Suède et la Norvège (1876)

Louis XV et Elizabeth de Russie (1882)

Ambassade française en Orient sous Louis XV (1887)

Napoléon et Alexandre Ier (three volumes, 1894-97), awarded the Vaubert prize

Les voyages du Marquis de Nointel (1900)

L'avènement de Bonaparte (1902)Vandal was elected to the Académie française in 1897, and he succeeded his teacher and friend, Albert Sorel as professor at the school of political science.

Fascist mysticism

Fascist mysticism (Italian: Mistica fascista) was a current of political and religious thought in Fascist Italy, based on Fideism, a belief that faith existed without reason, and that Fascism should be based on a mythology and spiritual mysticism. A School of Fascist Mysticism was founded in Milan on April 10, 1930 and active until 1943, and its main objective was the training of future Fascist leaders, indoctrinated in the study of various Fascist intellectuals who tried to abandon the purely political to create a spiritual understanding of Fascism. Fascist mysticism in Italy developed through the work of Niccolò Giani with the decisive support of Arnaldo Mussolini.

François-Marie, marquis de Barthélemy

François-Marie, Marquess of Barthélemy (20 October 1747, Aubagne – 3 April 1830 Paris) was a French politician and diplomat, active at the time of the French Revolution.

Heinrich von Sybel

Heinrich Karl Ludolf von Sybel (2 December 1817 – 1 August 1895), German historian, came from a Protestant family which had long been established at Soest, in Westphalia.

Henri Jean Baptiste Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu

Henri Jean Baptiste Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu (February 12, 1842 – June 16, 1912) was a French publicist and historian born at Lisieux, Calvados. He specialized in writing about the history of Russia.

Historiography of the French Revolution

The historiography of the French Revolution stretches back over two hundred years, as commentators and historians have sought to answer questions regarding the origins of the Revolution, and its meaning and effects. By the year 2000, many historians were saying that the field of the French Revolution was in intellectual disarray. The old model or paradigm focusing on class conflict has been challenged but no new explanatory model had gained widespread support. Nevertheless, there persists a very widespread agreement to the effect that the French Revolution was the watershed between the premodern and modern eras of Western history.


Not to be confused with nearby Harfleur.

Honfleur (Honfleur in French) is a commune in the Calvados department in northwestern France. It is located on the southern bank of the estuary of the Seine across from le Havre and very close to the exit of the Pont de Normandie. Its inhabitants are called Honfleurais.

It is especially known for its old port, characterized by its houses with slate-covered frontages, painted many times by artists, including in particular Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Jongkind, forming the école de Honfleur (Honfleur school) which contributed to the appearance of the Impressionist movement. The Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell tower separate from the principal building, is the largest church made out of wood in France.

Ligue de la patrie française

The Ligue de la patrie française (French Homeland League) was a French nationalist and anti-Dreyfus organization. It was officially founded in 1899, and brought together leading right-wing artists, scientists and intellectuals. The league fielded candidates in the 1902 national elections, but was relatively unsuccessful. After this it gradually became dormant. The bulletin ceased publication in 1909.

List of French-language authors

Chronological list of French language authors (regardless of nationality), by date of birth. For an alphabetical list of writers of French nationality (broken down by genre), see French writers category.

List of members of the Académie française

This is a list of members of the Académie française (French Academy) by seat number. The primary professions of the academicians are noted. The dates shown indicate the terms of the members, who generally serve for life. Some, however, were "excluded" during the reorganisations of 1803 and 1816 and at other times.

Maurice Donnay

Charles Maurice Donnay (12 October 1859 – 31 March 1945) was a French dramatist.

Morison KSi

Morison KSi (previously Morison International & KS International) is a global association of professional service firms (accounting, auditing, tax and business consulting). The association has 158 member firms in 88 countries. Morison KSi's status as an association is in accordance with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) audit code and the EU Statutory Audit Directive 2006/43/(EC) (“the 8th Directive”). Morison KSi is ranked by the International Accounting Bulletin as the 9th largest accounting association in the world. In January 2017, the combined revenue of all member firms was USD1.002 billion.

Octave Aubry

Octave Aubry (1 September 1881, Paris – 27 March 1946) was a French novelist and historian.

Sciences Po

The Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃s.ti.ty de.tyd pɔ.li.tik də pa.ʁi]), commonly referred to as Sciences Po (French pronunciation: ​[sjɑ̃s po]), is the primary institution of higher learning for French political and administrative elite, and one of the most prestigious and selective European schools in the social sciences. It was founded in 1872 to promote a new class of French politicians in the aftermath of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, and has since educated, among others, 32 heads of state or government, 7 of the past 8 French Presidents, 3 past heads of the International Monetary Fund, heads of international organizations (including the UN, UNESCO, WTO, IMF, EP and ECB), and 6 of sitting CAC 40 CEOs. The school is also the alma mater of numerous intellectual and cultural figures, such as Marcel Proust, René Rémond, Paul Claudel, and Raymond Aron.

In 2019, it was ranked as the world's 3rd best school for politics and international relations.Sciences Po undertook an ambitious reform agenda starting in the mid-1990s, which broadened its focus to prepare students for the private sector, put an emphasis on the internationalization of the school's curriculum and student body, and established a special admission process for underprivileged applicants. It also expanded outside Paris by establishing additional campuses in Dijon, Le Havre, Menton, Nancy, Poitiers, and Reims. The institution is a member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and the Global Public Policy Network.

Émile Boutmy

Émile Boutmy (13 April 1835 – 25 January 1906) was a French political scientist and sociologist who was a native of Paris.

He studied law in Paris, and from 1867 to 1870 gave lectures on the history and culture of civilizations as it pertained to architecture at the École Spéciale d'Architecture. Being shocked by the ignorance and disinterest in regards to political issues that he observed during the Paris Commune, he founded in 1872 the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques with important industrialists and academics that included Hippolyte Taine, Ernest Renan, Albert Sorel and Pierre Paul Leroy-Beaulieu.

From 1873 to 1890, Boutmy gave classes on the constitutional history of England, France and the United States. In 1879 he was appointed to the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. Today the main auditorium of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) is named in his honor.

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