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Summary Article: Péguy, Charles Pierre
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French Catholic socialist writer. He established a socialist publishing house in Paris. From 1900 he published on political topics Les Cahiers de la quinzaine/Fortnightly Notebooks. He dedicated much of his poetry to a celebration of Joan of Arc, and wrote the gigantic poetical works Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d'Arc/The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc 1910 and Le Mystère des saints innocents/The Mystery of the Holy Innocents 1912.

Life Péguy was born in Orléans, into a poor peasant family. Overcoming all obstacles, he took courses at the Ecole Normale, and later attended the Sorbonne. Determined to remain in Paris, but without money, he founded the Cahiers de la quinzaine. He was killed in World War I in the Battle of the Marne.

Thought Influenced by the philosopher Henri Bergson, Péguy proved himself a passionate seeker of the truth. The anti-clerical socialists and many Catholics were puzzled by Péguy, who was at the same time an ardent Catholic and an ardent socialist. In the Dreyfus affair he became a zealous Dreyfusard, but made a distinction between the political Dreyfusards and what he called the ‘Dreyfusard mystics’, who battled unselfishly for the triumph of justice.

Works The Cahiers were complete books, often written by Péguy himself, on some burning topic of the day. Romain Rolland contributed some of his best work to the Cahiers. Péguy also published La Tapisserie de Ste Geneviève/The Tapestry of St Geneviève 1912, La Tapisserie de Notre Dame/The Tapestry of Notre Dame 1913, and an enormous poem entitled Eve 1913. In both his prose and his verse Péguy hewed out a style for himself in which he used popular speech.


Péguy, Charles Pierre

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