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Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin
the greatest of French literary critics, born at Boulogne-sur-Mer; adopted medicine as a profession in deference to the wishes of his widowed mother, and for some years studied at Paris, but even as a student had begun his career as a literary critic by contributions to the Globe newspaper; in 1827 became acquainted with Victor Hugo, whose commanding influence drew him into the Romantic movement, and determined for him a literary career; a critical work on French poetry in the 16th century (1828), two volumes of mediocre poetry (1829-1830), and a psychological novel, "Volupté" (1834), the fruit of spiritual and mental unrest, preceded his lectures at Lausanne on Port-Royal (1837), which, afterwards elaborated and published, contain some of his finest writings; an appointment in the Mazarin Library, Paris (1840), brought him a modest competence, and allowed him during the next 8 years to contribute without strain or stress to the Revue des Deux Mondes; was elected in 1845 to the Academy; three years later lectured for a session at Liège University; during 1849-1869 he contributed a weekly literary article to the Constitutionnel; these form his famous "Causeries du Lundi" and "Nouveaux Lundis," which, for variety of human interest, critical insight, and breadth of sympathy, remain unsurpassed; was appointed professor of Latin in the Collège de France (1854), but his unpopularity with the students, owing to his support of Napoleon III., led to his resignation; as a senator in 1865 his popularity revived by his eloquent advocacy of freedom of thought, and on his decease some 10,000 people attended his funeral (1804-1869).
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