Lanson, Gustave

Lanson, Gustave


Born Aug. 5, 1857, in Orléans; died Dec. 15, 1934, in Paris. French literary critic.

Lanson was a professor at the Sorbonne (from 1900) and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He was the author of such monographs as Nivelle de la Chaussée et la comédie larmoyante (1887), Boileau (1892), Corneille (1898), and Voltaire (1906), written in the tradition of the cultural-historical school of literary criticism.

Lanson’s major work, The History of French Literature (1894; Russian translation, vols. 1–2, 1896–98), is rich in factual material, presenting descriptions of the times, discussions of the writers’ style and language, and biographical and bibliographical commentaries. It treats the history of French literature by genres. A valuable supplement to the history is The Bibliographical Guide to Modern French Literature, 1500–1900 (vols. 1–4, 1909–12). G. V. Plekhanov criticized Lanson’s History of French Literature: The Nineteenth Century from a Marxist viewpoint, but noted that it “was written with unquestionable knowledge by an intelligent and serious man” (Literatura i estetika, vol. 2, Moscow, 1958, p. 598).


Essais de méthode, de critique et d’histoire littéraire. Paris [1965].
In Russian translation:
Metod ν istorii literatury. Moscow, 1911.


Simon, K. R. Istoriia inostrannoi bibliografii. Moscow, 1963.
Leguay, P. Universitaires d’aujourd’hui. Paris, 1912.
Mélanges offerts à G. Lanson. Paris, 1922. (Bibliography.)


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Lanson, Gustave. Histoire de la litterature francaise.