Bourget, Paul Charles Joseph

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bourget, Paul Charles Joseph

 

Born Sept. 2, 1852, in Amiens; died Dec. 25, 1935, in Paris. French writer. Elected to the Académie Française in 1894.

Starting his career as a decadent poet and critic, Bourget followed H. Taine’s positivist method in his articles (Essays on Modern Psychology, 1883 and New Essays on Modern Psychology, 1885). The characters of Bourget’s first novels—A Cruel Enigma (1885; Russian translation, 1894) and In a Net of Lies (1887; Russian translation, 1888)—are representatives of upper society; they are snobs or virtuous and narrow-minded Catholics. In his most important novel, The Disciple (1889; Russian translation, 1889), Bourget asserted the superiority of ethics and religion over scientific thinking. In his subsequent novels (about 45), which include The Stage (1902; Russian translation, 1903) and The Meaning of Death (1915), Bourget argued that only Catholicism and monarchy can save France, which “has been weakened by revolutions.” The drama The Barricade (1910) is imbued with hatred for democracy.

WORKS

Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1-9. Paris, 1899-1911
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-[10]. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Uchenik. Moscow, 1958.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Carassus, E. Le Snobisme et les lettres françaises de P. Bourget à M. Proust, 1884-1914. Paris, 1966.

M. A. GOL’DMAN

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.