Émile Chartier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Émile Chartier
Émile Chartier portrait.jpg
Alain in 1931
Born3 March 1868
Died2 June 1951
Other namesAlain
Alma materÉcole Normale Supérieure
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy

Émile-Auguste Chartier (French: [ʃaʁtje]; 3 March 1868 – 2 June 1951), commonly known as Alain ([alɛ̃]), was a French philosopher, journalist, and pacifist.[1] He adopted his pseudonym in homage to the 15th-century Norman poet Alain Chartier.

Early life[edit]

Alain was born in 1868. He entered lycée d'Alençon in 1881 and studied there for five years. On 13 June 1956, the lycée was renamed lycée Alain, after its most famous student.


After Alain qualified at the École Normale Supérieure and received the agrégation in philosophy, he taught at various institutions: Pontivy, Lorient, Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen,[2] and, in Paris: (Lycée Condorcet and Lycée Michelet). From 1903, he contributed to several journals using his pseudonym, Alain. He was most commonly referred to as "Alain" by his pupils and peers.

In 1909, he was appointed a teacher (or professor) at the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris. He deeply influenced his pupils, who included Raymond Aron, Simone Weil, Georges Canguilhem, and André Maurois.[1] Reviewing the beneficial effect he had on his former pupils Simone Weil and Simone de Beauvoir, Professor John Hellman writes that Alain was the greatest teacher of their generation.[3]

Among his most important publications are The Dreamer, 81 chapters about the spirit and passions, About Happiness, Mars, and The citizen against powers.[1]


He died in 1951. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Works (selection)[edit]

  • Petit Traité d'Harmonie pour les aveugles (Short Treaty of Harmony for the Blind; in braille), 1918
  • Mars; Or the Truth about War, New York, Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith N.D., 1930
  • Alain on Happiness, New York, Ungar, 1973
  • The Gods, New directions, 1974


  1. ^ a b c Foray, Philippe (1993). "ALAIN (1868-1951)" (PDF). Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education. Paris: UNESCO: International Bureau of Education. XXIII (1/2): 21–37. doi:10.1007/bf02195023. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
  2. ^ Lycée Pierre Corneille de Rouen - History
  3. ^ John Hellman (1983). Simone Weil: An Introduction to Her Thought. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-88920-121-8.

External links[edit]