Jules Lemaître

François Élie Jules Lemaître (27 April 1853 – 4 August 1914) was a French critic and dramatist.

Jules Lemaître
Portrait of Jules Lemaître.jpg
BornFrançois Élie Jules Lemaître
(1853-04-27)27 April 1853
Vennecy, Loiret
Died4 August 1914(1914-08-04) (aged 61)
Tavers, Loiret
OccupationLiterary critic, and author
Signature of Jules Lemaître.png


Lemaître was born in Vennecy, Loiret. He became a professor at the University of Grenoble in 1883, but was already well known for his literary criticism, and in 1884 he resigned his position to devote his time to literature. Lemaître succeeded Jean-Jacques Weiss as drama critic of the Journal des Débats, and subsequently filled the same office on the Revue des Deux Mondes. His literary studies were collected under the title of Les Contemporains (7 series, 1886–99), and his dramatic feuilletons as Impressions de Théàtre (10 series, 1888–98).[1]

Lemaître's sketches of modern authors show great insight and unexpected judgment as well as gaiety and originality of expression. He was admitted to the French Academy on 16 January 1896. Lemaître's political views were defined in La Campagne Nationaliste (1902), lectures delivered in the provinces by him and by Godefroy Cavaignac.[1]

Lemaître conducted a nationalist campaign in the Écho de Paris, and was for some time president of the Ligue de la Patrie Française.[1] The Ligue originated in 1898 with three young academics, Louis Dausset, Gabriel Syveton and Henri Vaugeois, who wanted to show that Dreyfusism was not accepted by all at the University.[2] They launched a petition that attacked Émile Zola and what many saw as an internationalist, pacifist left-wing conspiracy.[3]Charles Maurras gained the interest of the writer Maurice Barrès, and the movement gained the support of three eminent personalities: the geographer Marcel Dubois, the poet François Coppée and the critic and Jules Lemaître.[2]

Lemaître resigned from the Ligue de la Patrie Française 1904, and dedicated the rest of his life to writing.[1] He died in Tavers, aged 61.



  • La Comédie après Molière et le Théâtre de Dancourt (1882).
  • Quomodo Cornelius Noster Aristotelis Poeticam sit Interpretatus (1882).
  • Les Contemporains. Études et Portraits Littéraires (7 vols., 1886–1899; 8th vol. posthumous).
  • Corneille et la Poétique d'Aristote (1888).
  • Impressions de Théâtre (10 vols., 1888–1898).
  • L'Imagier, Études et Portraits Contemporains (1892).
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1907).
  • Jean Racine (1908).
  • Fénelon (1910).
  • Châteaubriand (1912).
  • Les Péchés de Sainte-Beuve (1913).


  • Révoltée (1889).
  • Le Député Leveau (1890).
  • Mariage Blanc (1891).
  • Flipote (1893).
  • Le Pardon (1895).
  • L'Âge Difficile (1895).
  • La Bonne Hélène (1896).
  • L'Aînée (1898).
  • Bertrade (1905).
  • La Massière (1905).
  • Le Mariage de Télémaque (1910).
  • Kismet (1912).
  • Un Salon (1924, posthumous).


  • Les Médaillons (1880).
  • Petites Orientales (1883).


  • Sérénus, Histoire d'un Martyr. Contes d'Autrefois et d'Aujourd'hui (1886).
  • Dix Contes (1890).
  • Les Rois (1893).
  • Myrrha, Vierge et Martyre (1894).
  • La Franc-maçonnerie (1899).
  • Contes Blancs: la Cloche; la Chapelle Blanche; Mariage Blanc (1900).
  • En Marge des Vieux Livres (1905–1907).
  • Discours Royalistes, 1908–1911 (1911).
  • La Vieillesse d'Hélène. Nouveaux Contes en Marge (1914).

Works in English translation


  • "There are a thousand ways of seeing the same object."[4]
  • "The body has a character as complex and as difficult to comprehend as the moral character whereof it is the translation and the symbol."[5]
  • "Happiness is so fragile that one risks the loss of it by talking of it.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ a b Pierrard 1998, p. 180.
  3. ^ Conner 2014, p. 160.
  4. ^ Pène du Bois, Henri (1894). French Folly in Maxims. New York: Brentano's, p. 10.
  5. ^ Pène du Bois (1894), p. 10.
  6. ^ Pène du Bois, Henri (1897). Witty, Wise and Wicked Maxims. New York: Brentano's, p. 16.


  • Conner, Tom (2014-04-24), The Dreyfus Affair and the Rise of the French Public Intellectual, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-7862-0, retrieved 2016-03-08
  • Pierrard, Pierre (1998), Les Chrétiens et l'affaire Dreyfus, Editions de l'Atelier, ISBN 978-2-7082-3390-4, retrieved 2016-03-07

Further readingEdit

  • Blaze de Bury, Yetta (1898). "Jules Lemaître." In: French Literature of To-day. Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, pp. 183–210.
  • Clark, Barrett H. (1916). "Jules Lemaître." In: Contemporary French Dramatists. Cincinnati: Stewart & Kidd Co., pp. 121–136.
  • Donoso, Armando (1914). Lemaitre, Crítico Literario. Santiago de Chile: Empresa "Zig-zag".
  • Henry, Stuart Oliver (1897). "Jules Lemaître". In: Hours with Famous Parisians. Chicago: Way and Williams, pp. 97–109.
  • Lewisohn, Ludwig (1915). "The Humanists." In: The Modern Drama. New York, B.W. Huebsch, pp. 90–99.
  • Matthews, Brander (1895). "Jules Lemaître." In: Books and Play-books. London: Osgood, McIlvaine & co., pp. 117–137.
  • Morice, Henri (1924). Jules Lemaître. Paris: Perrin et Cie.
  • Schinz, A. (1907). "Jules Lemaitre Versus Democracy," The Bookman, pp. 85–88.

External linksEdit