Edgar Quinet

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Quinet, Edgar


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.


Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1–30. Paris [no date].


Kareev, N. I. Frantsuzkie istoriki vtoroi pol. XIX v. i nach. XX v., vol. 2. Leningrad, 1924. Chapter 7.
Valès, A. Edgar Quinet . . . . Paris, 1936.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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He has written books on Edgar Quinet and Alfred de Musset, co-edited the Michelet-Quinet correspondence and published on Anglo-French cultural relations.
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There are separate chapters on the historians Augustin Thierry, Francois Guizot, Edgar Quinet and Jules Michelet; a chapter on the historical vision of Saint-Simon and the Saint-Simonians; a lengthy introduction on historical models from the 1790s to 1830; and a conclusion.