Bourget, Paul pôl bo͞orzhā´ [key], 1852–1935, French novelist. His early novels were naturalistic, but Le Disciple (1889, tr. 1901), a tale of the destruction of a pupil who applies his master's naturalistic literary theories to life, marked a change. Bourget thereafter wrote in a Catholic and strongly moralistic tone that won critical admiration, but little popularity. Representative of his more than 60 novels are Cruelle Énigme (1885, tr. Love's Cruel Enigma, 1891), Cosmopolis (1893, tr. 1893), Le Démon de midi (1914), and Le Sens de la mort (1915, tr. The Night Cometh, 1916). He is best remembered for his literary criticism, especially Essais de psychologie contemporaine (1883).
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