Barrès, Maurice

Barrès, Maurice

(môrēs` bärĕs`), 1862–1923, French novelist and nationalist politician. As an advocate of the supremacy of the individual self, he wrote the trilogy of novels Le Culte du moi (1888–91). Finding that cultivation of the ego called for action as well as analysis, Barrès turned to a nationalism that grew into vengeful hatred of Germany, fanned by strong racist feeling and by love for his native Lorraine. The trilogy Le Roman de l'énergie nationale (1897–1902) embodied his nationalistic views. The Sacred Hill (1913, tr. 1929) is a symbolic story showing Catholicism as a bar to nationalism. After World War I, Barrès remained a patriotic extremist. His reputation as a literary artist rests on his graceful, lyrical prose and his powers of analysis and description.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Barrès, Maurice


Born Aug. 19, 1862, in Charmes, Vosges; died Dec. 4,1923, Neuilly-sur-Seine. French writer. Member of the Académie Française beginning in 1906.

Barrès’ novels In the Eyes of the Barbarians (1888), A Free Man (1889), and Berenice’s Garden (1891), which make up the trilogy The Cult of Myself, as well as the decadent book On Blood, Passion, and Death (1894), are characterized by mystical self-analysis and also by chauvinism. The comedy A Day in Parliament (1894; Russian translation, The Seamy Side, 1895) ridicules parliamentary government. The book The Enemy of the Laws (1893) contains a reactionary critique of socialism. The trilogy The Novel of National Energy, which consists of the novels The Uprooted (1897), The Call to Arms (1900), and Their Faces (1902), propounds racist ideas. The novel The Inspired Hill (1913) is pervaded by apologias for Catholicism. Barres was well known for his sarcastic attitude toward the Third Republic; however, all his accusations had a distinctly antidemocratic quality.


Mes Cahiers, vols. 1–14. Paris, 1929–51.


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Lalou, R. Maurice Barrés. Paris, 1950.
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Zarach, A. Bibliographie barrésienne, 1881–1948. Paris, 1951.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.