Charles Péguy

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Péguy, Charles


Born Jan. 7, 1873, in Orléans; died Sept. 5, 1914, near Villeroy, Seine-et-Marne. French poet and journalist.

Péguy joined the Socialist Party in 1894. From 1900 to 1914 he edited the journal Cahiers de la Quinzaine, whose contributors included J. Jaurès and R. Rolland. Péguy’s journalistic articles, such as “On the Socialist City” (1897) and “The Triumph of the Republic” (1900), were typical of “emotional socialism,” which condemned capitalism in the name of a patriarchal republic with a peasant handicraft base.

While sympathizing with the Paris Commune of 1871, Péguy attempted to reconcile democratic and patriotic principles with traditional Catholic religiosity; these views are found in the collection of articles Our Native Land (1905) and the narrative poems The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc (1910) and Eve (1913). In time, the patriotism expressed in Péguy’s journalism acquired a nationalistic coloration, as in the pamphlet Our Young People (1910).


Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1–20. Paris, 1916–55.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Rolland, R. Ch. Péguy, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1944. (Excerpt published in Russian translation in R. Rolland, Sobr. soch, vol. 14. Moscow, 1958.
Pages 635–705.) Perche, C. Essai sur Ch. Péguy, 2nd ed. [Paris, 1965.]


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Said Charles Peguy, the Catholic poet and polemicist who sacrificed so much for the Dreyfus cause: "He did not die for himself, but a number died for him.
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Insofar as this book is saying something new, it is by taking the classic criticisms of modernity and extending them to the period since the 1960s, seeing in this recent period the deepest confirmation of the analyses provided by Charles Peguy, Gabriel Marcel, or Leo Strauss.