Author Picture

Jules Michelet

Jules Michelet (Paris, 21 August 1798 – Hyères, 9 February 1874) was a French historian, author and philosopher. In his work, Histoire de France (History of France), Michelet was the first historian to use and define the word Renaissance (‘rebirth’ in French), for a period in Europe’s cultural history that represented a drastic break from the Middle Ages.

His father was a master printer, and Jules assisted him in the actual work of the press. A place was offered him in the imperial printing office, but his father was able to send him to the famous Collège or Lycée Charlemagne, where he distinguished himself. He passed the university examination in 1821, and was soon appointed to a professorship of history in the Collège Rollin. Shortly after this, in 1824, he married. This was one of the most favourable periods ever for scholars and men of letters in France, and Michelet had powerful patrons in Abel-François Villemain and Victor Cousin, among others. Although he was very interested in politics, having embraced republicanism and a peculiar variety of romantic free-thought, he was above all a man of letters, and an inquirer into the history of the past.

Read more about Jules Micheletin in the Post Scriptum of 'Sorceress'.