Claude Bernard, Hippolyte Taine and Ernst Renan
Bernard's earliest researches were on the action of the secretions of the alimentary canal, the pancreatic juice, the connection between the liver and nervous system, for which he received prizes from the Academy (1851-1853). Later researches were on the changes of temperature of the blood, the opium alkaloids, curarine, and the sympathetic nerves. His Leçons de physiologie expérimentale (1865) is a standard work.
Hippolyte Adolphe Taine, 1828-1893
Taine's greatest work, Les Origines de la France contemporaine (1875-1894) constitutes the strongest attack yet made on the men and the motives of the French Revolution of 1789. Taine died March 5, 1893. Derniers Essais appeared in 1895, and Carnets de voyage in 1897. His Notes sur l'Angleterre, an account of the English based on a stay of only ten weeks, appeared in 1871.
Ernst Renan, 1823-1892
With his eldest sister Henrietta's assistance and counsel he was enabled to follow out his purpose, a life of study untroubled by creeds. In 1850 he obtained a post in the Bibliothèque Nationale, and having become known through his Oriental studies, in 1860 he was one of a commission sent by the French government to study the remains of Phoenician civilization. In 1861 he was chosen professor of Hebrew in the Collège de France; but the emperor, inspired by the clerical party, refused to ratify the appointment. It was not until 1870 that he was established in the chair. In 1878 he was elected to the Academy.
His work as author began with a paper (1847), developed into his Histoire générale des langues sémitiques (1854). Averroès et l'Averroisme (1852) demonstrated his familiarity with the thought of the Middle Ages. He wrote frequent essays, later collected in his Études d'histoire religieuse (1856) and Essais de morale et de critique (1859). Renan's European reputation dates from the publication of the Vie de Jésus (1863), first in the series which its author regarded as his special work, the Histoire des origines du Christianisme. In the Vie de Jésus the combined weakness and strength of Renan's method were exaggerated to caricature. Of the volumes that followed, those on St. Paul (1869) and Marcus Aurelius (1882) are noteworthy. In completion of his life's task Renan undertook a history of the people of Israel (5 vols. 1887-194). Other works include books on Job (1858), the Song of Solomon (1860), Ecclesiastes (1882), Questions contemporaines, Dialogues philosophiques, Drames philosophiques, Souvenirs d'enfance (1883), L'Abesse de Jouarre (1888) and Ma Soeur Henriette (1865). Renan delivered the Hibbert Lectures, The Influence of Rome on Christianity, in London, in 1880.
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