Barrès, Maurice

Barrès, Maurice môrēsˈ bärĕsˈ [key], 1862–1923, French novelist and nationalist politician. As an advocate of the supremacy of the individual self, he wrote the trilogy of novels Le Culte du moi (1888–91). Finding that cultivation of the ego called for action as well as analysis, Barrès turned to a nationalism that grew into vengeful hatred of Germany, fanned by strong racist feeling and by love for his native Lorraine. The trilogy Le Roman de l'énergie nationale (1897–1902) embodied his nationalistic views. The Sacred Hill (1913, tr. 1929) is a symbolic story showing Catholicism as a bar to nationalism. After World War I, Barrès remained a patriotic extremist. His reputation as a literary artist rests on his graceful, lyrical prose and his powers of analysis and description.

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