Hippolyte Taine

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Taine, Hippolyte


(full name Hippolyte-Adolphe Taine). Born Apr. 21, 1828, in Vouziers, in the Ardennes; died Mar. 5, 1893, in Paris. French philosopher, aesthetician, writer, and historian.

Taine studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris from 1848 to 1851. He became a member of the Académie Frangaise in 1878. Taine founded the aesthetic theory of naturalism and the school of cultural history. His chief works were Essays of Criticism and History (1858; Russian translation, 1869), studies on Balzac (1858) and Stendhal (1864), History of English Literature (1863–64; Russian translation, 1876), and The Philosophy of Art (1865–69; Russian translations, 1866 and 1899).

Proceeding from A. Comte’s positivist evolutionism, Taine asserted that criticism should be a neutral analysis that avoids moral and ideological judgments. His methodology was based on the triad la race (a writer’s innate, natural qualities), le milieu (his geographic and climatic setting), and le moment (la race and le milieu during a given historical epoch). The interaction among the components of the triad gives rise to literary styles, genres, and schools.

Taine’s works manifested an elitist indifference to the life of the people. He wrote the books of essays Voyage to the Waters of the Pyrenees (1855) and Voyage in Italy (1866; Russian translation, 1913–16), the satiric novella Parisian Mores: Notes and Opinions of Mr. Frédérick-Graindorge (1867; Russian translation, 1880), Notes on England (1871; Russian translation, 1872), and Travel Journal (1897).

Although Taine was a moderate liberal before the 1870’s, he reacted to the Paris Commune (1871) with hostility and became a reactionary. This turning point was reflected in his major historical work, The Origins of Contemporary France (vols. 1–3, 1876–93; Russian translation, vols. 1–5,1907). Based on a biased selection of sources, the work was essentially an attack against the French Revolution, the Jacobins, and the Jacobinic dictatorship.


La Fontaine et ses fables. Paris, 1861.
Sa Vie et sa correspondence, 4th ed., vols. 1–2. Paris, 1908–14.
In Russian translation:
Bal’zak. St. Petersburg, 1894.
Istoriia estetiki: Pamiatniki mirovoi esteticheskoi mysli, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.


Plekhanov, G. V. Literatura i estetika, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1958.
Lunacharskii, A. V. Sobr. soch., vol. 8. Moscow, 1967.
Anisimov, 1.1. Zhivaia zhizn’ klassiki. Moscow, 1974. Pages 101–03.
Aulard, A. Taine, historien de la revolution française. Paris, 1907.
Lacombe, P. Taine, historien et sociologue. Paris, 1909.


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Occasionally one wonders at the odd omission such as Avery Craven or Hippolyte Taine.
For the latter notion he cites Hippolyte Taine, and on memory he draws inspiration and ideas from the work of Francis Yates and Pierre Nora as well as Henri Bergson.
For example: she rightly cites the important influence of the French philosopher Hippolyte Taine upon Twain (acknowledged on p.
French writer Hippolyte Taine, who observed England in the 1860s, reported that the workhouse he visited was spacious and clean, the children were taught in classrooms, and the diet included meat once a week--a luxury in those days.
Barres went to Paris to study law but instead turned to literature, publishing essays critical of the historians Hippolyte Taine and Ernest Renan, the spiritual mentors of his day.
12) Hippolyte Taine, History of English Literature, Vol.
37] Patrizia Lombardo has argued that |After 1850, Hippolyte Taine is a key figure for understanding the relationship between literature and history .
Eggleston wrote the book partly as a protest against the preoccupation of contemporary writers with New England; and he found inspiration in the axiom of the French critic Hippolyte Taine (1828-1893) that "the artist of originality will work courageously with the materials he finds in his own environment.
continues the series' historical overview of critical reactions from contemporary appraisals to current evaluations of writers who died between 1800 and 1900, with illustrated biocritical essays on eleven authors: John Calhoun, Nikolai Gogol, Thomas Haliburton, Letitia Landon, Henry Crabb Robinson, August von Schlegel, Sir Walter Scott, Henry Shaw, Juliusz Slowacki, Dinoysios Solomas and Hippolyte Taine.
And "after the collection of facts, the search for causes," reminded another, Hippolyte Taine.
Al otro lado del canal, vivo aun el novelista ingles, habia recibido el homenaje de Hippolyte Taine, un teorico de la literatura tan influyente en su dia como Roland Barthes un siglo despues.
The remaining articles of the volume broach subjects as diverse as Bourget's interest for the young generation (Denis Pernot); the double yet opposing influences of Hippolyte Taine and Herbert Spencer on early Bourget works (Sophie Spandonis); the relevance of Bourget's writings to contemporary literary criticism (Laurent Dubreuil); Bourget's "Paradoxe sur la couleur" (Michela Tonti); and the symbolist writers' rejection of Bourget's "Theorie de la decadence.