Louis Nicolas Menard

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LOUIS NICOLAS MENARD (1822-1901), French man of letters, was born in Paris on the 19th of October 1822. His versatile genius occupied itself in turn with chemistry, poetry, painting and history. In 1843 he published, under the pseudonym of L. de Senneville, a translation of Promethee ddlivrd. Turning to chemistry, he discovered collodion in 1846, but its value was not recognized at the time; and its application later to surgery and photography brought him no advantage. Louis Menard was a socialist, always in advance of the reform movements of his time. After 1848 he was condemned to imprisonment for his Prologue d'une revolution. He escaped to London, returning to Paris only in 1852. Until 1860 he occupied himself with classical studies, the fruits of which are to be seen in his Poemes (1855), Polytheisme hellenique (1863), and two academic theses, De sacra poesi graecorum and La Morale avant les philosophes (1860). The next ten years Menard spent chiefly among the Barbizon artists, and he exhibited several pictures. He was in London at the time of the Commune, and defended it with his pen. In 1887 he became professor at the Ecole des Arts decoratifs, and in 1895 professor of universal history at the Hotel de Ville in Paris. His Reveries d'un paien mystique (1876), which contained sonnets, philosophical dialogues and some stories, was followed in 1896 by Poemes et reveries d'un paien mystique. Menard died in Paris on the 12th of February 1901.

His works include: Histoire des anciens peuples de l'Orient (1882); Histoire des Israelites d'apres l'exegese biblique (1883), and Histoire des Grecs (1884-1886). There is an appreciation of Menard in the opening chapter of Maurice Barres's Voyage de Sparte.

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