Quinet, Edgar(ĕdgär` kēnā`), 1803–75, French historian. A romantic nationalist, he was much influenced by Johann Gottfried von Herder and was a close friend and associate of Jules Michelet. Praising the French Revolution for weakening the power of the Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church, Quinet advocated complete elimination of church influence as the prerequisite for political freedom. His anti-Jesuit lectures at the Collège de France caused his dismissal from his teaching post in 1846. He opposed the regime of Napoleon III and was banished in 1852. After the French defeat (1870) in the Franco-Prussian War, he returned to France and entered the national assembly as a deputy.
See study by F. Furet (1986).
Born Feb. 17, 1803, in Bourg-en-Bresse; died Mar. 27, 1875, in Paris. French political figure; historian.
In 1841, Quinet became a professor in the Collège de France. He was dismissed from this post in 1846 because of the struggle he and J. Michelet were waging against the reactionary Catholic clergy and the Jesuits. Quinet took an active part in the February Revolution of 1848 and was a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Legislative Assembly. After the counterrevolutionary coup d’etat of Dec. 2, 1851, he was forced to emigrate in 1852; he returned to France in 1870. In the 1860’s, Quinet made a noticeable shift to the right. The best known of Quinet’s numerous works is his treatise on the French Revolution (vols. 1–2, 1865; in Russian translation, The Revolution and Its Criticism, vols. 1–2; Moscow, 1908). Despite general sympathy for the revolution, Quinet in this work reveals his abstract conception of freedom and his distrust of the political activity of the people.
WORKSOeuvres complètes, vols. 1–30. Paris [no date].
REFERENCESKareev, N. I. Frantsuzkie istoriki vtoroi pol. XIX v. i nach. XX v., vol. 2. Leningrad, 1924. Chapter 7.
Valès, A. Edgar Quinet . . . . Paris, 1936.