Nadar (Gaspard Felix Tournachon) Jules Michelet
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1850s Print Date 1900c
Dimensions 9-5/8 x 6-9/16 in. (245 x 168 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
This image by Felix Nadar is printed from the original glass negative plate by Paul Nadar, his son. It is signed, stamped and captioned on the verso. An important piece of documentation of an important image by one of the masters of early photography. Jules Michelet (August 21, 1798 – February 9, 1874) was a French historian born at Paris of a family with Huguenot traditions. The Encyclopedia Britannica added to the debate over his approach to history, saying "the peculiar visionary qualities which made Michelet the most stimulating, but the most untrustworthy (not in facts, which he never consciously falsifies, but in suggestion) of all historians." The events of 1830 which initiated the "liberal" monarchy of Louis Philippe unmuzzled Michelet as a liberal, anti-clerical and very patriotic historian and writer, and also put him in a better position by obtaining for him the position of head of the Historical Section of the National Archives and a deputy-professorship under Guizot in the literary faculty of the Sorbonne. Soon afterwards he began his chief and monumental work "Histoire de France" (History of France) in which he immersed himself in the narrative and stressed the development of France as a nation. It was in these years of his early thirties that Michelet seems to have begun to drift somewhat away from a previous acceptance of catholicism and royalism and towards more radical views. The completion of the Histoire de France was to involved intermittently sustained efforts over more than thirty years from 1833 but Michelet also produced other many works during these years. Some of the earlier of these other works included Oeuvres choisies de Vico, the Mémoires de Luther écrits par lui-même, and the Origines du droit française. In 1838 he was appointed professor at the Collège de France, where he held the chair of History and Ethics. He published, in 1839, his Histoire romaine. The results of his lectures appeared in the volumes Le Prêtre, la femme, et la famille (1843), and Le Peuple (1846).
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