Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (21 April 1828 – 5 March 1893) was a French critic and historian. He was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism, a major proponent of sociological positivism and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism. Literary historicism as a critical movement has been said to originate with him. Taine is also remembered for his attempts to provide a scientific account of literature.
Taine had a profound effect on French literature; the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica asserted that "the tone which pervades the works of Zola, Bourget and Maupassant can be immediately attributed to the influence we call Taine's." Through his work on the French Revolution, Taine has been credited as having ', ‘forged the architectural structure of modern French right-wing historiography’.
Portrait of Hippolyte Taine by Léon Bonnat.
|Born||Hippolyte Adolphe Taine|
April 21, 1828
|Died||March 5, 1893 (aged 64)|
|Alma mater||École Normale Supérieure|
In 1841, however, Taine, then aged 13, lost his father and, was sent to a boarding school in Paris, in the Institution Mathé, whose classes were conducted in the Collège Bourbon, located in the Batignolles district. He excelled in his studies and in 1847 obtained two Baccaulauréat degrees (Science and Philosophy) and received the honorary prize of the concours. He was awarded a first in the entrance examination of the letters section of the École Normale Supérieure, to which he was admitted in November 1848. Among the 24 students in the letters section, he is the classmate of Francisque Sarcey (who, in his Memories Youth will portray young Hippolyte in the campus of Ulm Street) and Edmond About. But his attitude—he had a reputation for stubbornness—and his intellectual independence from then fashionable ideas— embodied by Victor Cousin—caused him to fail the examination for the national Concours d’Agrégation of philosophy in 1851. After his essay on sensation was rejected, he abandoned the social sciences and got into literature. Having relocated to Province, he took up teaching positions in Nevers and Poitiers, during which time he continued his intellectual development. In 1853, he obtained a doctorate at the Sorbonne. His thesis, Essai sur les fables de La Fontaine, which would be later published in revised form in 1861. His subsequent Essay on Livy won a prize from the Académie française in 1854.
Taine adopted the positivist and scientist ideas that emerged around this time.
After defending his doctorate, he was automatically transferred to Besançon, but he refused this assignment. He settled first in Paris, where he enrolled in the medical school. From there, he went on a medical cure in the Pyrenees in 1855, after which he wrote his famous Voyage aux Pyrénées, and began contributing numerous philosophical, literary, and historical articles to the Revue des deux Mondes and the Journal des débats, two major newspapers at the time.
He then took leave and travelled to England, where he spent six weeks. In 1863 he published his History of English Literature in Five Volumes. Bishop Félix Dupanloup, who had made it his career to oppose the election of agnostic intellectuals to the French Academy, opposed the latter’s awarding Taine a prize for this work. In 1868, he married Thérèse Denuelle, daughter of Alexandre Denuelle. They had two children: Geneviève, wife of Louis Paul-Dubois, and Émile.
The immense success of his work allowed him, not only to live by his pen, but also to be named professor of the History of Art and Aesthetics at the School of Fine Arts and at Saint-Cyr. He also taught at Oxford (1871), where he was a Doctor in Law. In 1878, he was elected member of the French Academy by 20 out of the 26 voters. Taine was interested in many subjects, including art, literature, but especially history. Deeply shaken by the defeat of 1870, as well as by the insurrection (and violent repression) of the Paris Commune, Taine became fully devoted to his major historical work, The Origins of Contemporary France (1875-1893), on which he worked until his death, and which had a significant impact. Conceived by Taine with the aim of understanding the France of his day, the six-volume work achieved originality in its use of a long perspective to analyse the causes of the French Revolution. In particular, Taine denounced the artificiality of the revolution’s political constructions (the excessively abstract and rational spirit of Robespierre, for example), which, in his mind, violently contradicted the natural and slow growth of the institutions of a State.
In 1885, while visiting the Hospital de la Salpêtriere, Taine and Joseph Delboeuf attended a session of hypnotism in which Jean-Martin Charcot experienced vesications (blistering) by suggestion.
Tained died on 5 March 1893. He was buried in the Roc de Chère National Natural Reserve, Talloires, on the shores of Lake Annecy. Taine had bought the Boringes property in Menthon-Saint-Bernard (in Haute-Savoie), in order to work there every summer, and had served as councillor of the commune.
Taine's writing on the Revolution was, and remains, popular in France. While admired by liberals like Anatole France, it has served to inform the conservative view of the Revolution, since Taine rejected its principles as well as the French Constitution of 1793, on account of their being dishonestly presented to the people. He argued that the Jacobins had responded to the centralisation of the ancien régime with even greater centralisation and favoured the individualism of his concepts of regionalism and nation. Taine's alternative to rationalist liberalism influenced the social policies of the Third Republic.
On the other hand, Taine has likewise received criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, his politics being idiosyncratic, complex, and difficult to define. Among others, attacks came from the Marxist historian George Rudé, a specialist in the French Revolution and in ‘history from below’, on account of Taine's view of the crowd; and from the Freudian Peter Gay described Taine’s reaction to the Jacobins as stigmatisation. Yet, Alfred Cobban, who advocated a revisionist view of the French Revolution in opposition to the orthodox Marxist school, considered Taine’s account of the French Revolution a "a brilliant polemic". Taine's vision of the Revolution stands in contrast to the Marxist interpretations that gained prominence in the 20th century, as was embodied by Albert Mathiez, Georges Lefebvre, and Albert Soboul before Alfred Cobban and François Furet put forth their respective revisionist accounts.
Notwithstanding academic politics, when Alphonse Aulard, a historian of the French Revolution, analysed Taine’s text, he showed that the numerous facts and examples presented by Taine to support his account proved substantially correct; few errors were found by Aulard—fewer than in his own texts, as reported by Augustin Cochin.
In his other writings Taine is known for his attempt to provide a scientific account of literature, a project that has led him to be linked to sociological positivists, although there were important differences. In his view, the work of literature was the product of the author’s environment, and an analysis of that environment could yield a perfect understanding of that work; this stands in contrast with the view that the work of literature is the spontaneous creation of genius. Taine based his analysis on the categories of what in English would be translated today as "nation", "environment" or "situation", and "time". Armin Koller has written that in this Taine drew heavily from the philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, although this has been insufficiently recognised, while the Spanish writer Emilia Pardo Bazán has suggested that a crucial predecessor to Taine’s idea was the Germaine de Staël’s work on the relationship between art and society. Nationalist literary movements and post-modern critics alike have made use of Taine’s concepts, the former to argue for their unique and distinct place in literature and the latter to deconstruct the texts with regards to the relationship between literature and social history.
Taine was criticised, including by Émile Zola (who owed a great deal to him), for not taking sufficiently into account the individuality of the artist. Zola argued that an artist’s temperament could lead him to make unique artistic choices distinct from the environment that shaped him and gave Édouard Manet as a principal example. Édouard Lanson argued that Taine’s environmentalist methodology could not on its own account for genius.
Taine's influence on French intellectual culture and literature was significant. He had a special relationship, in particular, with Émile Zola. As critic Philip Walker says of Zola, "In page after page, including many of his most memorable writings, we are presented with what amounts to a mimesis of the interplay between sensation and imagination which Taine studied at great length and out of which, he believed, emerges the world of the mind." The Spanish philosopher, Miguel de Unamuno, was fascinated with both Zola and Taine early on (although he eventually concluded that Taine's influence on literature had been negative). Paul Bouget and Guy de Maupassant were also heavily influenced by Taine.
Taine shared a correspondence with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who later referred to him in Beyond Good and Evil as "the first of living historians". He was also the subject of Stefan Zweig's doctoral thesis, "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine."
Works in English translation
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1853.Auguste Angellier
Auguste Angellier (1 July 1848 – 28 February 1911) was the first teacher of language and English literature at the Faculté de Lettres of Lille, before becoming its dean from 1897 to 1900. A literary critic and historian of literature, he was also a poet, and made sensation at the Sorbonne attacking the theories of Hippolyte Taine in his thesis about Robert Burns in 1893.Biographical fallacy
The biographical fallacy is a term used in cultural criticism to critique the view that works of creative art, literature or music can be interpreted as reflections of the life of their authors. Along with the intentional fallacy, the term was introduced by exponents of the New Criticism who wished to emphasise that artworks should be interpreted and assessed as constructed artifacts rather than expressions of the emotions of specific individuals. The term is thus used to criticize the school of literary interpretation called Biographical criticism.
The argument arose from the increasing tendency of critics during the 19th century to view artworks in terms of the life experiences of their creators, whether their personal lives, or the wider historical conditions represented in the artist's world view, a claim associated with critics such as Hippolyte Taine.This position was referred to as a "fallacy" on the grounds that it neglected both the purely imaginative aspects of the arts and their reliance on formal conventions and rules of genre. Thus James M. Thomas writes of the fallacy applied to drama that,
This type of approach distances itself from the play and goes instead into the playwright's biography to find people, places and things that seem to be similar to features in the play. And then it claims that the play is actually a picture of these people, places and things. In its extreme form this is fallacy because it does not consider that playwrights use their imagination when they write and that they can imagine improbable or even impossible things.
Robert S. Miola, Professor of English at Loyola College in Maryland, discusses the biographical fallacy as "the unqualified conviction that one can read the author's life from the work and vice versa", and adds:
This fallacy is widespread in Shakespeare studies, true enough, but the business of wrenching passages out of dramatic context as evidence of the playwright's personal beliefs usually reveals more about the critic than about Shakespeare.
Commenting further on the fallacy as applied to contemporary work about Shakespeare, Joseph Pearce asserts that "For the proponents of ‘queer theory' he becomes conveniently homosexual; for secular fundamentalists he is a proto-secularist, ahead of his time; for ‘post-Christian' agnostics he becomes a prophet of modernity.” Others consider the term offensive and defend biographical criticism in its non-extreme forms, finding that full understanding of an author's works is not possible without extrinsic sources. Leon Edel in his book Literary Biography devoted a chapter to defending biographical criticism. While admitting the excesses of certain earlier critics use of biography, he rigorously stated that no critic, I hold, can explicatethe very word implies thisanything without alluding to something else [outside the work].The term inverted autobiography is also applied to the practice.Filologicheskie Zapiski
Filologicheskie Zapiski (Филологические записки, i.e., "Annals of the Philologia", "Philological Notes") was the oldest Russian scientific journal "dedicated to research and development of various issues in language and literature in general - and comparative linguistics, Russian language and literature in particular - and Slavic dialects", published in Voronezh on an every second month basis between 1860 and 1917.
The magazine published articles by famous European philologists Max Müller, John Mill, William Whitney, Ernest Renan, Georg Curtius, August Schleicher, Carl Becker, Karl Heyse, Hippolyte Taine, Louis Léger, Johan Lundell as well as translations of ancient authors Theophrastus, Euripides, Lucian, Horace, Cicero, Virgil.
Numerous well-known individuals of the Russian Empire wrote pieces for the journal:
Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay,
Izmail Sreznevsky etc."Philological Notes" made perhaps the most significant contribution to the practical translation of scientific texts on philology and general linguistics into Russian in the 19th century. Only four articles on these subjects had been translated into Russian before Alexey Khovansky began his work, and only one of these from English.
One of Khovansky’s first successes was the translation of Max Muller’s lectures at Oxford University. They were published in Russian in Voronezh only three years after their presentation at Oxford in 1863 – a speed which is amazing even in our times, not to mention the 19th century. In those years, the journal’s main direction of research was comparative linguistics, which served as the basis for Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. One other translation from English was the work of William Whitney, the founder of the American linguistic school: “The Life and Growth of Language: An Outline of Linguistic Science”. In 1867, the journal published a translation of John Mill’s article "The Value of Art in the General System of Education".
Many articles in the magazine are unique. In the 19th century the magazine received the recognition not only throughout Russia but also at the universities of Paris, Leipzig, Prague, Zagreb, Berlin, Jena, Vienna, Uppsala, Strasbourg, and in America.
Prior to the organization in 1879 in Warsaw "Russian Philological Bulletin", the magazine remained the only special periodical in Russia devoted to the problems of philology and the teaching of Russian language and literature.
Founded by Alexei Khovansky in 1860, the journal was published regularly until 1917. Comparative linguistics was classified in the USSR as "bourgeois science," many scientists were persecuted. The magazine was closed down in 1917 but resurfaced many years later in 1993 at the Faculty of Philology of Voronezh State University.Franz Woepcke
Franz Woepcke (May 6, 1826 – March 25, 1864) was an historian, Orientalist, and mathematician. He is remembered for publishing editions and translations of medieval Arabic mathematical manuscripts and for his research on the propagation of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in the medieval era.
Woepcke was born in Dessau in Germany. He studied mathematics at the University of Berlin, gaining his doctorate in 1847. With astronomer Johann Franz Encke and archaeologist Ernst Heinrich Tölken as his academic advisors, he penned his dissertation involving sundials of antiquity (Archaeologico-mathematicae circa solaria veterum). Afterwards he studied Arabic language at the University of Bonn, where in 1850 he obtained his habilitation. Woepcke spent much of his subsequent career studying and working outside of Germany, particularly in Paris. Most of his output was written in French. In 1856 he returned to Berlin and taught classes at the Französischen Gymnasium until 1858. He died in Paris on March 25, 1864 at the age of 37.
Among his better known works are: an edition of the algebra book of Omar Khayyám (died c. 1131) (L'algèbre d'Omar Alkhayyâmî, publiée, traduite et accompagnée d'extraits des manuscrits inédits, 1851); an edition of the algebra book of Al-Karkhi (died c. 1029) (Extrait du Fakhrî, traité d'algèbre par Mohammed Alkarkhi, précédé d'un mémoire sur l'algèbre indéterminée chez les Arabes, 1853); lengthy essays on the introduction and propagation of the Hindu-Arabic numerals (Sur l'introduction de l'arithmetique indienne en Occident (1859) and Mémoire sur la propagation des chiffres indiens (1863)); and essays involving the influences of Arabic sources in the mathematics of Leonardo Pisano (died c. 1250).
Hippolyte Taine dedicated his book De l'intelligence to him and described him as his friend that he had most respected.François Buloz
François Buloz (20 September 1803 – 12 January 1877) was a French littérateur, magazine editor, and theater administrator.
He was born in Vulbens, Haute-Savoie, near Geneva, and died in Paris.
Originally employed as a chemist, and then as a printer and proofreader, he became the editor of the Revue des deux Mondes in 1831. Making an audacious change in its direction, Buloz took to the magazine to the pinnacle of French publishing by bringing in some of France's most celebrated literary talent: Sainte-Beuve, Victor Hugo, Alfred de Vigny, Alfred de Musset, George Sand, Balzac, Dumas père and eventually Octave Feuillet, Hippolyte Taine and Ernest Renan.
From 17 October 1838 to 2 March 1848, Buloz was chief administrator of the Comédie-Française.Henri van Laun
Henri van Laun (1820 – 19 January 1896) was a writer, translator and teacher of French. Born in the Netherlands and educated in France, he lived most of his life in England. He originally thought of being a journalist but found he preferred teaching. He was a friend of Hippolyte Taine and translated his History of English Literature into English. Van Laun also translated works by Molière and Alain-René Lesage.Van Laun is buried in Brookwood Cemetery and his tomb is a grade II listed building.Jean-Paul Cointet
Jean-Paul Cointet is a French historian. He is Professor emeritus of 20th century history at the University of Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens, and he serves on the board of the Institut Georges Pompidou. He was the recipient of two prizes from the Académie française: the Prix d’Académie in 1999, and the Prix Thiers for Hippolyte Taine : Un regard sur la France in 2012.Myriagon
In geometry, a myriagon or 10000-gon is a polygon with 10,000 sides. Several philosophers have used the regular myriagon to illustrate issues regarding thought.N. Petrașcu
N. Petrașcu or Pĕtrașcu (common renditions of Nicolae Petrașcu [nikoˈla.e peˈtraʃku]/[pəˈtraʃku]; born Nicolae Petrovici [ˈpetrovit͡ʃʲ]; ; December 5, 1859 - May 24, 1944) was a Romanian journalist, essayist, literary critic, novelist, and memoirist. The author of monographs on major figures in Romanian literature, Petrașcu was originally affiliated with the conservative literary society Junimea, but did not embrace all its tenets. Like his friend, novelist Duiliu Zamfirescu, he parted with the group and, together with Dimitrie C. Ollănescu-Ascanio, established a new circle around the magazine Literatură și Artă Română ("Romanian Literature and Art").
During the 1890s, his group carried an extended polemic with Junimea, and Petrașcu developed his own tenets, which took Historicism, Sociological positivism, and Determinism as its main sources of inspiration. He was also noted for endorsing the views of Western European thinkers such as Hippolyte Taine and Émile Hennequin. In this context, he engaged in public debates with the Junimist intellectuals Titu Maiorescu, P. P. Negulescu, and Mihail Dragomirescu. Alongside Ollănescu-Ascanio and Zamfirescu, his circle came to include, among others, poet Alexandru Vlahuță, novelist Gala Galaction, and architect Ion Mincu. N. Petrașcu was the brother of Gheorghe Petrașcu, a renowned painter.Petrașcu authored a single novel, titled Marin Gelea. The work deals with the status of geniuses in the late 19th century Romanian Kingdom, and contains several references to important cultural figures of the day.Naturalism (literature)
Naturalism is a literary movement beginning in the late nineteenth century, similar to literary realism in its rejection of Romanticism, but distinct in its embrace of determinism, detachment, scientific objectivism, and social commentary. The movement largely traces to the theories of French author Émile Zola.Raicu Ionescu-Rion
Raicu Ionescu-Rion (born Raicu Ionescu; August 24, 1872 – April 19, 1895) was a Romanian literary critic and socialist commentator.
Born in Bălăbănești, Galați County, he came from a poor peasant family. He attended primary school in Tăcuta village (1879-1882), high school in Bârlad (1882-1889) and the faculty of literature and philosophy at Iași University (1890-1893), meanwhile taking classes on a scholarship at the higher normal school. While in high school in 1887, together with Garabet Ibrăileanu, N. Savin, D. Moscu and T. Cardaș, he founded the socialist Orientul literary society. During this period, he undertook a systematic reading of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Max Nordau, Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, as well as of Hippolyte Taine and Georg Brandes. His published debut came in 1889 with the article "Împrejurări ușurătoare", published in the Roman Școala nouă, an outfit headed by P. Mușoiu and E. Vaian, and where Ibrăileanu was chief editor. He contributed social criticism and theoretical articles to the socialist newspapers Critica socială and Munca, as well as to Evenimentul (also edited by Ibrăileanu). The majority of his literary studies appeared in Evenimentul literar. He worked as a substitute teacher in Târgoviște (1893-1895), where he died of consumption. He used the pen names Rion, V. Rion, Noir, Th. Bulgarul, Faust, Paul Fortună and G. Mirea. His close friends Ibrăileanu and Sofia Nădejde published a posthumous collection of his criticism as Scrieri literare (1895). In his work, Ionescu-Rion showed himself to be a follower and admirer of Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea, also displaying a close affinity with Ibrăileanu.Sensualism
Sensualism is the persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests. In philosophy, it refers to the ethical doctrine that feeling is the only criterion for what is good. In epistemology it is a doctrine whereby sensations and perception are the basic and most important form of true cognition. It may oppose abstract ideas. This ideogenetic question was long ago put forward in Greek philosophy (Stoicism, Epicureanism) and further developed to the full by the English Sensualists (John Locke, David Hume) and the English Associationists (Thomas Brown, David Hartley, Joseph Priestley). In the 19th century it was very much taken up by the Positivists (Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Hippolyte Taine, Émile Littré)Sociological naturalism
Sociological naturalism is a theory that states that the natural world and social world are roughly identical and governed by similar principles. Sociological naturalism, in sociological texts simply referred to as naturalism, can be traced back to the philosophical thinking of Auguste Comte in the 19th century, closely connected to positivism, which advocates use of the scientific method of the natural sciences in studying social sciences. It should not be identified too closely with Positivism, however, since whilst the latter advocates the use of controlled situations like experiments as sources of scientific information, naturalism insists that social processes should only be studied in their natural setting. A similar form of naturalism was applied to the scientific study of art and literature by Hippolyte Taine (see Race, milieu, and moment).
Contemporary sociologists do not generally dispute that social phenomena take place within the natural universe and, as such, are subject to natural constraints, such as the laws of physics. Up for debate is the nature of the distinctiveness of social phenomena as a subset of natural phenomena. Broad support exists for the antipositivist claim that crucial qualitative differences mean that one cannot explain social phenomena effectively using investigative tools or even standards of validity derived from other natural sciences. From this point of view, naturalism does not imply scientism.
However, a classically positivist conflation of naturalism with scientism has not disappeared; this view is still dominant in some old and prestigious schools, such as the sociology departments at the University of Chicago in the United States, and McGill University in Montréal, Canada.
More recently, actor-network theory has analyzed the social construction of the nature/society distinction itself.Srpska književna zadruga
The Srpska književna zadruga (Serbian-Cyrillic: Српска књижевна задруга; English: Serbian Literary Cooperative) is Serbia's second oldest still existing publishing house after Matica srpska.
The cooperative was founded in Belgrade on 29th April 1892 in no longer existing building of the Royal Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts by sixteen prominent people of the cultural, scientific and political life of that time. Since its inception, the traditional institution has edited works by both Serbian and international authors and finally contributed to promotion and dissemination of Serbian and other translated world's literature. The traditional corporation has thus made an important contribution to the Serbian cultural life for more than a century. The cooperative's coat of arms was designed by Jovan Jovanović Zmaj.Among the numerous publications of the Literary Cooperative can be found many translated works of international writers such as Jorge Amado, Ludovico Ariosto, Thomas Babington Macauley, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Beaumarchais, Lord Byron, Luís Vaz de Camões, Albert Camus, Geoffrey Chaucer, Paul Claudel, James Fenimore Cooper, Alphonse Daudet, Charles Dickens, Charles Diehl, Maurice Druon, George Eliot, Thomas Stearns Eliot, Euripides, Richard J. Evans, William Faulkner, Gustave Flaubert, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Goldsmith, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Peter Handke, Thomas Hardy, Ludwik Hirszfeld, Victor Hugo, Aldous Huxley, Henry James, Franz Kafka, Søren Kierkegaard, Rudyard Kipling, David Lodge, André Malraux, Christopher Marlowe, Herman Melville, Prosper Mérimée, Molière, Eugene O’Neill, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, France Prešeren, Francisco de Quevedo, Rainer Maria Rilke, Isak Samokovlija, Friedrich von Schiller, Arthur Schnitzler, Albert Schweitzer, Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Stendhal, Hippolyte Taine, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, François Villon, Virgil, Oscar Wilde and Thomas Wolfe.The Other (1913 film)
The Other (German: Der Andere) is a 1913 German silent thriller film directed by Max Mack and starring Albert Bassermann, Emmerich Hanus and Nelly Ridon.Thomas Blackwell (scholar)
Thomas Blackwell the younger (4 August 1701 – 6 March 1757) was a classical scholar, historian and "one of the major figures in the Scottish Enlightenment."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.