Maurice Barrès

Politician, Author

1862 – 1923

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Who was Maurice Barrès?

Auguste-Maurice Barrès was a French novelist, journalist and politician. Spending some time in Italy, he became a figure in the French literature with the release of his work The Cult of the Self in 1888. In politics, he was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1889 as a Boulangist and would play a prominent political role for the rest of his life.

Barrès was associated in his literary works with Symbolism, a movement which had equivalence with British Aestheticism and Italian Decadentism, indeed he was a close associate of Gabriele d'Annunzio representing the latter. As the name of his trilogy suggests, his works glorified a humanistic love of the self and he also flirted with occult mysticisms in his youth. The Dreyfus affair saw an ideological shift and he was a leading anti-Dreyfusard, popularising the term nationalisme to describe his views. He stood on a platform of "Nationalism, Protectionism and Socialism."

Politically, he became involved with various groups such as the Ligue des Patriotes of Paul Déroulède, which he became the leader of in 1914. Barrès was close to Charles Maurras founder of Action Française, a monarchist party.

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Aug 19, 1862
Charmes, Vosges
Also known as
  • Maurice Barres
  • Auguste-Maurice Barrès
  • France
Lived in
  • Lorraine
Dec 4, 1923

on July 23, 2013


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