The Artificial Self
The Psychology of Hippolyte Taine

Hilary Nias

Legenda (General Series)


1 October 1999  •  272pp

ISBN: 1-900755-18-1 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


In this pioneering study Hippolyte Taine (1828-93) emerges as the very model of the European intellectual in the second half of the nineteenth century. The author draws on unpublished manuscripts and letters to reveal a self-disguised, tentative and ironic mentality very like the one Taine described in his psychological writings. These qualities are reflected not only in his own ludic response to his times, but in that of many fellow Second Empire intellectuals. Hilary Nias discusses Darwinian evolution, new scientific discoveries, 'la Critique' and Impressionism, which all made a profound impact on Taine's thinking and on his contribution to the moral revival and Nationalism of the Third Republic.

Hilary Nias is a linguist and cultural historian, and holds a PhD from the University of Reading. She is currently editing Taine's unpublished notebooks of 1853-80, and preparing a translation of the philosophical essays of Théodore Jouffroy (1796-1842).


  • ‘Given the relative dearth of serious work on the writers who formed the philosophical backbone to nineteenth-century literary France, a study of any one of them is welcome, a study of this quality of scholarship, insight and precision a real feast.’ — David C. J. Lee, Modern Language Review 96.3, 2001, 830-1 (full text online)
  • ‘This authoritative study of Taine's indirectness and inconclusiveness will be an indispensable foundation.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 37.3, 2001, 347
  • ‘A probing and stimulating contribution to Tainian studies.’ — Thomas H. Goetz, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 29.3-4, 2001, 370-1

Bibliography entry:

Nias, Hilary, The Artificial Self: The Psychology of Hippolyte Taine (Cambridge: Legenda, 1999)

First footnote reference: 35 Hilary Nias, The Artificial Self: The Psychology of Hippolyte Taine (Cambridge: Legenda, 1999), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Nias, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Nias, Hilary. 1999. The Artificial Self: The Psychology of Hippolyte Taine (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Nias 1999: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Nias 1999: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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