Brunetière, Ferdinand

Brunetière, Ferdinand

Brunetière, Ferdinand (fĕrdēnäNˈ brünətyĕrˈ), 1849–1906, French literary critic. An opponent of naturalism, he believed that literature should reflect a moral order. His vast learning is evident in the masterly Manuel de l'histoire de la littérature française (1897) and in the history of French literature from 1515, most of which was published (1904–17) posthumously from his notes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brunetière, Ferdinand


Born July 19, 1849, in Toulon; died Dec. 9, 1906, in Paris. French critic, historian, and literary theoretician.

Brunetière was an adherent of monarchy and Catholicism. Following H. Taine, he tried to bring the methods of the natural sciences, in particular the theory of C. Darwin, to bear on the history of literature (The Evolution of Genres in the History of Literature, 1890, and others). Later, in the 1890’s, Brunetière went over to an openly idealist position, explaining the literary process by the influence of one work on another, and finding the main reason for the change of literary directions and aesthetic tastes in the artistic aspirations of the creative personality (Textbook on the History of French Literature [1898] and History of French Literature of the Classical Period, vols. 1-2, 1904-12). A devotee of 17th-century French classicism, Brunetière viewed subsequent literary currents (naturalism and others) as phenomena of artistic decline.


Études critiques sur I’histoire de la littérature française, vols 1-9. Paris, 1880-1925.
Questions de critique, 2nd ed. Paris, 1889.
In Russian translation:
Otlichitel’nyi kharakter frantsuzskoi literatury. Odessa, 1893.
Evropeiskaia literatura XIX v. Moscow, 1900.


Arsen’ev, K. K. “Novaia frantsuzskaia kritika.” Vestnik Evropy, 1887, no. 6.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Curtius, E. R. F. Brunetière. Strasbourg, 1914.


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