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The heyday of the Collège de France

The heyday of the Collège de FranceThe heyday of the Collège de France
The heyday of the Collège de France


Born of the humanistic spirit of the Renaissance, the Collège de France, founded in 1530 by Guillaume Bude, "master library" of Francis I, is a center of excellence and knowledge transfer. Since the sixteenth century, he never ceased to contribute to the vitality and influence of French intellectual thought. Providing free courses and open to all in the scientific, literary and artistic, the College of France knew how to remain faithful over the centuries to the values ??of its founding motto:

Docet omnia (He teaches all).

Created in a context where loving intelligences new discoveries renouaient with the treasures of ancient thought, offered by the invention of printing, the Collège de France was from the beginning intended to move towards universal knowledge. So called "Royal College" readers, humanists paid by the king, was responsible for the disciplines that teach the University of Paris ignored. The Greek and Hebrew Chairs were thus first created. In 1707, the chairs were among twenty and forty in 1870, the year the Royal College and Imperial became the Collège de France. At present, the institution has forty five chairs organized into five departments: mathematical and computational sciences, physics and chemistry, life sciences, social sciences, history and literature.

Here we propose a significant selection of works to trace the history of some of its most illustrious professors and their work, from century to Guillaume Bude to the edge of the XXI century.

This line of great minds began under the old regime with contemporary figures such as Ambroise Paré, Louis Duret (1527-1586), doctor of kings Charles IX and Henry III, who held the chair of medicine 1567-1586 . His treatise Hippocratis magnificent coacae praenotiones. Opus admirabile, intres libros distributum, published in 1588, revived the ancient knowledge of the founding father of medicine.

In terms of literature include the poet and humanist Jean Passerat (1534-1602), who holds a chair of eloquence from 1572. His works, Januariae Kalendae, & Varia quaedam Poëmatia, De caecitate oratio, in Praefatiuncula disputationem of ridiculed, quae is apud Ciceronem in libro de Oratore secondly, the first book of poems, published between 1595 and 1603, illustrate the heyday of French rhetoric during the reign of Henri IV.

The Royal College during the Enlightenment shone by the excitement of the work of its readers, who greatly contributed to the foundations of modern Western thought. With almost all languages ??of Europe and Asia, the Orientalist Etienne Fourmont (1683-1745), professor of Arabic appointed in 1715, was one of the greatest linguists of his time. His criticisms Reflections on the history of ancient peoples Chaldeans, Hebrews, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, etc. Cyrus time to announce the beginnings of taste and ethnographic research in the East that will mark all the nineteenth century; like the Journey to Armenia and Persia, made ??in the years 1805 and 1806 by P. Amédée Jaubert (1779-1847), professor of Persian orientalist elected in 1838. Similarly, the Hellenist and Latin scholar Jean Terrasson ( 1670-1750), holder of the chair of philosophy Greek and Latin from 1720 took part, with Sethos, history or life, driven monuments, stories of ancient Egypt, the curiosity about "Egyptian mysteries" that occupy the great Napoleonic hours.

Jacques Delille (1738-1813) poet and translator, appointed in 1778 to Latin poetry chair, developed a poetry of nature who knew a bridge between the scientific and literary sensibilities of his time. The first successes of his translation of Virgil's Georgics carried his fame to his famous odes Gardens or Art beautify the landscape, or the Three Kingdoms of nature.

The great nineteenth century the College of France was among its most illustrious professors Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) who graced the chair of Natural History from 1800 to 1832. Reports of historical eulogies read in public meetings of the Academy Science, as its historic Report on the progress of the natural sciences since 1789, and their current status, and the Sermon on the revolutions of the globe and the changes they have produced in the animal kingdom, report reflections which allowed unprecedented progress in the history of natural sciences. The doctor and biologist Pierre Flourens (1794-1867), considered one of the founders of experimental neuroscience, succeeded Cuvier at the College of France. In 1835, he obtained the chair entitled "Natural history of organized bodies," he held until 1867. He paid tribute to his predecessor through a reasoned analysis of the work of Georges Cuvier preceded its historical praise.

Another great name of the time, Jules Michelet (1798-1874) enlivened the history and moral pulpit from 1838 until his dismissal by the regime of Napoleon III. The founding father of the history of France, author of Timeline of modern history and origins of French law sought in symbols and formulas of universal law is one of the major historiographical references historical disciplines.

In the early years of the Second Empire, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) temporarily obtained the chair of Latin poetry of the College de France. His inaugural lecture devoted to "Virgil and The Aeneid," given March 9, 1855, was disrupted by students denouncing his support for Napoleon III. He resigned on 20 March. His collected Poems and reviews La Bruyere and La Rochefoucauld - Madame de Lafayette and Madame de Longueville, as well as literary and contemporary Portraits Portraits make it one of the most prominent players in the literary landscape of the nineteenth century.

It's as professor of Hebrew as the writer, philologist, philosopher and historian Ernest Renan (1823-1892) invests the Collège de France from 1862. Suspended two years later, in 1864, following About deemed sacrilegious about Jesus Christ, he will return with the institution in 1883 by becoming the administrator. His writings, including, From the origin of language, religious history Studies, The Apostles, St. Paul, Prayer on the Acropolis have significantly contributed to the history of religions by launching the foundations of a secular and anthropological reflection . The 1847-1892 Correspondence with Marcellin Berthelot, professor of organic chemistry in 1865, tells us about the close relationship of these two eminent figures of the College de France.
Generations of professors who have followed throughout the twentieth century is the heyday of French intellectual life, whose reputation and authority still feed the movements of contemporary thought.

Henri Bergson (1859-1941) appointed in 1900, the institution gave to his Greek philosophy chair a major personality. Erected in defense against the imperious positivism of Auguste Comte, Bergson gave back to the man and thought a metaphysical dimension. Note on the psychological origins of our belief in the law of causality and Port-Tarascon - Latest adventures of the illustrious Tartarin, are among the proposed works. In 1952, Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) succeeded him with an inaugural lecture entitled "In Praise of Philosophy", inspiring and exciting the younger generation of philosophers Humanism and Terror, test the communist problem, Sense and nonsense. , The Adventures of dialectics, and signs among the major works of his thought.

The great mind was Paul Valery (1871-1945) also deserved to join the benches of the College de France, which was specially created for him the chair of Poetics in 1937. The young park, The Evening with Mr. Teste, Album of to elders. 1890-1920, Baudelaire location, Poetry. Essays on the poetic and the poet, or Morals, are all works that have nourished the soul of this new teaching. Yves Bonnefoy, author of The improbable and written Pierre, elected in 1981 at the College de France, where he taught at the Chair of Comparative Studies of the poetic function until 1993, will be part of that legacy.

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) and Michel Foucault (1926-1984), also occupied the specialized chairs of the new French structuralist thought. Barthes gave his inaugural lecture on literary semiotics chair of the College de France in 1977, while Foucault was between 1970 and 1984 holds a chair to which he gave the title "History of systems of thought." All of his work, or Clinic Birth Willingness to learn is based on this epistemological approach.

Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009) was professor emeritus and founder of the chair of social anthropology in 1959 he honored in 1982. His many works, Race and History, Race and Civilization, Mythological, Volume III: The Origin of Table Manners, The gesture Asdiwal, Place of anthropology in the social sciences and the problems posed by his teaching, or Honey to Ashes, participated in the consideration of the excesses of western ethnocentrism and openness to the plurality of cultures. Alongside André Leroi-Gourhan (1911- 1986), Master of Prehistory of Western art, elected professor from 1969 to 1982, he was one of the emblematic figures of the development of new human and social sciences of the twentieth century.

These few famous names - and many others including André Marie Ampere, Désiré Nisard, Edgar Quinet, Fernand Braudel, Georges Dumézil ... - contributed to the prestige of this institution unique in the world.

We offer you a selection of works in first editions and autographed the great minds who have contributed to the brilliant history of the Collège de France:

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