Charles Maurras

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Maurras, Charles


Born Apr. 20, 1868, in Martigues, Bouches-du-Rhône; died Nov. 16, 1952, in Tours. French publicist, critic, and poet.

In 1899, Maurras joined the royalist group that had arisen around the biweekly journal Revue de l’Action française; in 1908, the journal became the daily newspaper L’Action française, whose guiding spirit was Maurras. In his articles, Maurras called for discipline and order in society; he asserted the beneficial nature of hereditary monarchy and Catholicism and declared the superiority of the “Latin race” over other peoples. He set forth his political ideas in Enquiry Concerning Monarchy (1900–09) and Kiel and Tangier (1910). Maurras regarded 17th-century classicism as his ethical and aesthetic standard. He wrote a number of books discrediting romanticism and praising the Greco-Roman sources of French culture; among these are The Road to Paradise (1894), Anthinéa (1901), The Lovers of Venice (1902), and The Future of Intelligence (1905).

In his poetry of the 1890’s, Maurras founded the école romane, which opposed symbolism; in essence this was only a variety of the decadent and symbolist movements (the collections For the Sake of Psyche, published separately in 1911, and Inscriptions, 1921). During World War II, Maurras was a rabid chauvinist. During World War II he was the official ideologist of the Pétain government, which collaborated with the fascist German invaders.


Oeuvres capitales, vols. 1–4. Paris [1954].
Critique et poésie. Paris, 1968.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Massis, H. Maurras et notre temps. Paris [1961]


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Con este noble objetivo los poetas Maurice du Plessys, Raymond de La Tailhede, Ernest Raynaud y el erudito critico Charles Maurras se han acercado a mi, no como 'escolta', sino por haber encontrado en mi Pelerin passionne las aspiraciones de su raza y nuestro comun ideal de Romanidad (Le Figaro, 14 de septiembre de 1891; cf.
The governments of the early 1900s adopted a strong anti-clerical stance and "lurched into a campaign targeting the church establishment," particularly on the question of schooling; in 1904 religious congregations were prohibited from teaching, and in 1905 the formal separation of church and state was instituted followed by the shutting down of thousands of religious schools (Jones 235); however, a movement to restore the Roman Catholic Church to its former power and prestige was in progress, as evident, for example, in the agenda of Maurras, himself ironically a non-believer, who nevertheless thought that a resurgence of Roman Catholicism was in the best interests of the nation (and his own conservative and traditionalist goals).
The emergence of Petain's government produced, in the words of Action Francaise leader Charles Maurras, a "divine surprise," (1) a conjunction [conjoncture] when a previously minoritarian political Right could promulgate its vision of an eternal France of terroir [region], village, and farm.
Some of these families, such as the traditionalist Catholics/old-style conservative nationalists, from de Maistre to Maurras to Le Pen (well, some nuances are needed here, but I don't have time for them) also happen to be rather, and in some cases virulently and viciously, anti-Semitic.
The year 1926 saw the condemnation by Rome of the Action Francaise of which Bernanos had been a member before World War I; then, only a few years later, he had a painful public dispute with Charles Maurras, the leader of the Action Francaise whom he had admired and supported.
Although in 1896-7 a close friendship and sharing of creative ideas did indeed exist between Gasquet, the poet, and Cezanne by virtue of their mutual love of the Provencal countryside, by 1900 the friendship had cooled, not least because Cezanne disliked Gasquet's right-wing politics and his association with Charles Maurras, founder of Action Francaise.
The anti-Dreyfusards, led by the writer Charles Maurras and by Paul Deroulede, countered with the League of the French Fatherland, dedicated to defending the honor of France and its army.
Not for nothing did Charles Maurras, the leading anti-Semite whose ideas of France for French people were the blueprint for Vichy's National Revolution, call the defeat a `divine surprise'.
In a characteristically audacious moment in Les Grands cimetieres sous la lune (1938), Georges Bernanos imagines the funeral of his former political ally and "maitre," (2) Charles Maurras, as "une grande manifestation d'union national"--only to declare that "on n'y verra pas Drumont, ni Peguy, ni moi." (3) Writing in 1937, six years after his stormy break with Maurras, Bernanos makes his present allegiances clear.
In the 1920S he became a journalist and freelance writer for Charles Maurras's Action Francaise, which "stood for anti-Semitic nationalism, royalism and Catholicism, and for hatred of foreigners." From 1937, Brassilach edited a newspaper, Je Suis Partout ("I Am Everywhere"), which proudly revealed the names and addresses of French Jews hiding from the Gestapo.
One must also recall that Franco's pronunciamiento had many illustrious defenders, particularly in France, including Paul Claudel, Henri Massis, Charles Maurras, Robert Brasillach, and, for a while, Georges Bernanos.
Entre Bossuet et Maurras: L'Antiprotestantisme en France de 1814 a 1870.