Charles Seignobos

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Charles Seignobos
Charles Seignobos, portrait.jpg
Born (1854-09-10)10 September 1854
Lamastre, Ardèche
Died (1942-04-24)24 April 1942
Occupation Historian
Nationality French
Subject History
Literary movement Historic method

Charles Seignobos (b. 10 September 1854 at Lamastre, d. 24 April 1942 at Ploubazlanec) was a French historian who specialized in the history of the French Third Republic, and was a member of the Human Rights League.


Seignobos was born to a Republican Protestant family in 1854 at Lamastre in the Ardèche department of France, the son of Charles-André Seignobos, the deputy for Ardèche from 1871 to 1881 and again from 1890 to 1892 and also the Councillor of Lamastre from 1852-1892. He passed his baccalaureat in 1871 at Tournon, where he studied with the French Symbolist poet and critic Stéphane Mallarmé.[1] After a stellar academic career at the École normale supérieure where he took courses with Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges and Ernest Lavisse, he completed a degree in history.

He moved afterwards to Germany where he studied for two years, spending most of his time in Göttingen, Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig. Named to a tenured position as Maître de conférences at the University of Burgundy in 1879 and a professor at the Écoles des hautes études internationales et politiques (HEI-HEP), he defended his doctoral thesis in 1881, and then was named to a position at the Sorbonne. He is regarded, along with his friend the physiologist Louis Lapicque, as one of the two founders of the scientific and humanistic community "Sorbonne-Plage" at L'Arcouest in Ploubazlanec, near Paimpol. (Marie Curie had a house constructed there and moved there in 1912).[2][3]

His brother Raymond Seignobos succeeded their father (who had been a mayor for just a few weeks in 1870) as Mayor of Lamastre from 1895 to 1914.

Charles Seignobos died in April 1942 after having been placed under house arrest at Ploubazlanec in Brittany.

Considered along with Charles-Victor Langlois as one of the leading proponents of the historical method, Seignobos wrote a number of works on political history which implemented the German historical method, benefiting from his excellent knowledge of linguistic particulars in documentary research in English and German. He is, as a result of his critical reading of manuscripts, regarded as one of the major figures in the history of the historical method.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Mallarmé, Correspondance, Folio Classique, 1995, p. 189.
  2. ^ Sorbonne-Plage. Les Curie et les Joliot : des savants sur la côte bretonne (1900-1950) [archive], présentation de l'exposition de la BNF.
  3. ^ Hervé Queillé, L'Arcouest. Les héritiers de Sorbonne-Plage 16 août 2013 [archive] sur le site du Télégramme (consulté le 7 février 2015).