Hippolyte Taine: histoire, psychologie, littérature
31.05.2021 Andrew J. Counter
Hippolyte Taine

Nathalie Richard's thesis is that Hippolyte Taine's work and its vast interdisciplinary reach — across but not limited to history, psychology, literary criticism, and philosophy — reflect the fact that he and his contemporaries drew few distinctions between what would come to be called disciplines, and that his œuvre thus requires an approach ‘adisciplinaire’ (p. 20). 

Meanwhile, readings that suppose a deliberate dilettantism from Taine, or a late conversion to history, suffer from ‘un certain anachronisme’ (p. 128). However, that academic disciplines were not widely taken for granted until the very final years of the nineteenth century will surprise few, while Richard's quarrel with (unnamed) scholars who have perpetuated such fallacies seems like the narcissism of small differences. If the book's thesis might seem disappointing,...
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