10 September 1854|
24 April 1942|
|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. 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).
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.
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
- Mallarmé, Correspondance, Folio Classique, 1995, p. 189.
- Sorbonne-Plage. Les Curie et les Joliot : des savants sur la côte bretonne (1900-1950) [archive], présentation de l'exposition de la BNF.
- Hervé Queillé, L'Arcouest. Les héritiers de Sorbonne-Plage 16 août 2013 [archive] sur le site du Télégramme (consulté le 7 février 2015).