Critic, novelist, and historian, born at Nice, 25 February, 1848; died in Paris, 24 February, 1910. He was descended from an illustrious family of Vivarais province which gave many prominent men to the Church and the army in the Middle Ages. He made his Classical studies at Versailles and studied law at Grenoble, When the Franco- Prussian war broke out, he enlisted as a private, and behaved so bravely that he was awarded the military medal. After the war, he entered the diplomatic career. He was successively sent as an attaché of embassy to Constantinople (1873), to Egypt (1875), and to St. Petersburg. In 1878 he married a Russian lady, Miss Annenkof. Four years later he resigned his official position and devoted his entire time to literature, except for a short period, from 1893 to 1896, when he represented the Department of Ardèche in the Chamber of Deputies. He was elected to the French Academy in 1888. He was a most versatile writer, contributing with the same ability articles on philosophical, historical, literary, religious, or artistic subjects. Current events interested him particularly and prompted him to write valuable essays, such as "Questions contemporaines" (1891), "Regards historiques et littéraires" (1892); "Heures d'histoire" (1893); "Devant le siècle" (1896); "Sous l'horizon" (1904). He achieved a great reputation by attracting the attention of the French public to the Russian novelists, who were hardly known in France at that time. His "Roman Russe" (1886) had a considerable influence on the evolution of the French novel by drawing attention to the sympathy for the poor people expressed by Dostoiewsky and Tolstoi. He also wrote a few novels. In all his writings he never failed to emphasize his attachment to his religious faith, the most conspicuous acknowledgment of which is his pamphlet on "Les Affaires de Rome" (1894). Among his other books must be mentioned: "Syrie Palestine, Mont Athos ; Voyage au Pays du Passé"; (Paris, 1876); "Histoires orientales, chez les pharaons" (1879); "Les portraits du siècle" (1883); "Le fils de Pierre le Grand"; "Mazeppa" (1884); "Histoire d'hiver" (1885) "Souvenirs et visions" (1887); "Portrait du Louvre" (1888); "Remarques sur l'exposition du centenaire" (1889); "Le manteau de Joseph Oléonine" (1890); "Jean d'Agrève" (1897); "Histoire et poésie" (1898); "Les morts qui parlent" (1899); "Le rappel des ombres" (1900); "Pages d'histoire" (1902); "Le maître de la mer" (1903).
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