Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-15-maryborough-mushet-steel >> 18th And 19th Centuries to And Of The Prime >> Charles Maurras

Charles Maurras

french, les, laction, francaise and daudet

MAURRAS, CHARLES (1868— ), French writer and politician, was born at Martigues, Provence, of a royalist family. He began his journalistic career as literary critic in the Revue Encyclopedique and the Gazette de France. He then joined L'Ac tion Francaise where he was at first the only royalist on the staff. He soon converted almost all his colleagues. After visiting Greece and Italy he published Trois idees politiques (1898) ; Les amants de V enise (1902) ; and L' avenir de l'intelligence (1905). This was his most productive period, during which his royalist propaganda exerted a powerful influence ; he assisted Leon Daudet in trans forming (1908) L'Action Francaise into a daily paper. In his Kiel et Tanger (1910) he criticized French foreign policy, while Le dilemme de Marc Sangnier (1906) dealt with religious prob lems. Though an avowed atheist, Maurras somewhat para doxically favoured an alliance with the Catholic Church which he regarded as closely connected with the monarchy. Moreover, he saw in the Catholic Church an instrument for securing the political and social stability which he valued. But the strange alliance was not endorsed by the Church. L'Action Francaise lost considerable influence when the French clergy withdrew their support and de feated Daudet during his candidature for parliament in 1923 and 1925. On Oct. 29, 1926, Maurras was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and a fine of r,000 francs for an open letter to M. Schrameck, minister of the interior, in which the minister was accused of favouring Communists; the letter might be read as an incitement to extreme violence. In 1927 consternation was created among French Catholic royalists by the promulgation of a decree (Dec. 29, 1926) placing certain of Maurras' books and

L'Action Francaise itself on the index, in view of articles by Daudet and Maurras which, it was said, attacked the Holy See. This decree was accepted by the French clergy in a declaration published in Oct. 1927. In the meantime the court of appeal, while upholding the conviction of Maurras, had agreed to his release.

The articles written by Maurras during the World War ap peared in eight volumes entitled Les conditions de la victoire (1915-20. Though the writings of Maurras produced a profound effect on French thought, his nationalist ideas failed to take deep root in his own country, but they triumphed in Italy; and L'Idea Nazionale with its Fascist doctrines owed much to L'Action Fran caise. The French movement with which the name of Maurras is associated may be regarded as an inchoate Fascism; a minor intellectual revolution, which has not developed into any great political upheaval. Maurras himself was strongly convinced of the necessity of order in the national life, and was prepared to sacrifice much else if the discipline which he considered essential in art and morals could be enforced. Among Maurras' many works may be mentioned the following: Jean Moreas (1891); Le chemin de paradis (1894) ; Anthinea (1wl); L'enquete sur la monarchie (19oo—o9) ; La politique religieuse (1912) ; Quand les Francais ne s'aimaient pas (1916) ; and a collection of poems La musique interieure (1925).

See A. Thibaudet, Les idees de Charles Maurras (1920).