Quinet, Edgar (18031875)

Quinet, Edgar, a French man of letters, born at Bourg, in the department of Ain; was educated at Bourg and Lyons, went to Paris in 1820, and in 1823 produced a satire called “Les Tablettes du Juif-Errant,” at which time he came under the influence of Herder (q.v.) and executed in French a translation of his “Philosophy of Humanity,” prefaced with an introduction which procured him the friendship of Michelet, a friendship which lasted with life; appointed to a post in Greece, he collected materials for a work on Modern Greece, and this, the first fruit of his own view of things as a speculative Radical, he published in 1830; he now entered the service of the Revue des Deux Mondes, and in the pages of it his prose poem “Ahasuérus” appeared, which was afterwards published in a book form and soon found a place in the “Index Expurgatorius” of the Church; this was followed by other democratic poems, “Napoleon” in 1835 and “Prometheus” in 1838; from 1838 to 1842 he occupied the chair of Foreign Literature in Lyons, and passed from it to that of the Literature of Southern Europe in the College of France; here, along with Michelet, he commenced a vehement crusade against the clerical party, which was brought to a head by his attack on the Jesuits, and which led to his suspension from the duties of the chair in 1846; he distrusted Louis Napoleon, and was exiled in 1852, taking up his abode at Brussels, to return to Paris again only after the Emperor's fall; through all these troubles he was busy with his pen, in 1838 published his “Examen de la Vie de Jésus,” his “Du Genie des Religions,” “La Révolution Religieuse au xixe Siècle,” and other works; he was a disciple of Herder to the last; he believed in humanity, and religion as the soul of it (18031875).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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