Péguy, Charles

Péguy, Charles

▪ French author
born Jan. 7, 1873, Orléans, Fr.
died Sept. 5, 1914, near Villeroy

      French poet and philosopher who combined Christianity, socialism, and patriotism into a deeply personal faith that he carried into action.

      Péguy was born to poverty. His mother, widowed when he was an infant, mended chairs for a living. He attended the lycée at Orléans on a scholarship and in 1894 entered the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, intending to teach philosophy. In 1895 he turned to socialism, convinced it was the sole means by which poverty and destitution in the modern world could be overcome. He also abandoned the conventional practice of Roman Catholicism, though he retained to the end of his life a fervent religious faith. At this time he wrote his first version of Jeanne d'Arc (1897), a dramatic trilogy that formed a declaration and affirmation of his religious and socialist principles. Péguy was then caught up in the Dreyfus affair (Dreyfus, Alfred); he threw himself unreservedly into the battle to establish Dreyfus' innocence and helped to bring many of his fellow socialists onto the same side.

      Besides running a bookstore that was a centre of pro-Dreyfus agitation, Péguy in 1900 began publishing the influential journal Cahiers de la Quinzaine (“Fortnightly Notebooks”), which, though never reaching a wide public, exercised a profound influence on French intellectual life for the next 15 years. Many leading French writers, including Anatole France, Henri Bergson, Jean Jaurès, and Romain Rolland, contributed work to it.

      Péguy published several collections of his essays in the years before World War I, but the most important works of his maturity are his poems. Chief among them is Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d'Arc (1910), a mystical meditation that enlarges upon some of the scenes in the Jeanne d'Arc of 1897; Mystère des Saints Innocents (1912); and the culmination of the meditative and devotional outpouring of his final years, Ève (1913), a statuesque poem of 4,000 alexandrines in which Péguy views the human condition in the perspective of the Christian revelation.

      When World War I broke out, he went to the front as a lieutenant, dying in the first Battle of the Marne.

Additional Reading
Yvonne Servais, Charles Péguy: The Pursuit of Salvation (1953); Marjorie Villiers, Charles Péguy: A Study in Integrity (1965, reprinted 1975).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Péguy, Charles — (1873 1914)    writer    Born in orléans of modest origins, Charles Péguy, who is considered one of the foremost modern Roman Catholic writers, lost his father at a young age (1873) but was able to begin studies on scholarship (1894) at the École …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Péguy, Charles — ► (1873 1914) Escritor francés. Adscrito al socialismo, fundó un grupo de orientación en Orleans e intervino en el caso Dreyfus a favor de este. Colaboró posteriormente en la Revue Socialiste y publicó dos manifiestos de sus ideas, así como el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • PÉGUY, CHARLES-PIERRE° — (1873–1914), French Catholic poet, editor, and essayist. Born in Orleans, Péguy studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he came under the influence of Henri bergson . Politically a radical, he puzzled men of both the left and the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Péguy, Charles Pierre — (1873–1914)    Mystic and Devotional Writer.    Péguy was born in Orléans, France. For a while he attended the Sorbonne, but he left to manage a bookshop. Initially he was a determined socialist and was appalled by the anti semitism displayed by… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

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  • Charles Péguy — Charles Péguy. Charles Péguy, nacido el 7 de enero de 1873 en Orleans (Loiret) y muerto el 5 de septiembre de 1914 en Villeroy (Seine et Marne), filósofo, escritor, poeta y ensayista francés, considerado uno de los principales escritores… …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Charles Peguy — Charles Péguy Charles Pierre Péguy (* 7. Januar 1873 in Orléans; † 5. September 1914 bei Villeroy) war ein französischer Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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