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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

Foreword

Pietro Corsi

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Extrait du texte

The second half of the 1820s was not an easy time for Cuvier. Already in 1826 the socialite and great French novelist Stendhal recorded in his Parisian chronicles, written for a British audience, that Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire was becoming a formidable rival of his more famous colleague, the Sécretaire perpétuel of the Académie des sciences.1 At the same time, Cuvier’s role as influential member and at times President of the Council of State (the organ effectively running the country) did not render him popular with the liberal political opposition. For instance, the Anti-Sacrilege Act legislation (loi sur le sacrilège) passed in early January 1825 in the House (dominated by the ultra-royalists) was considered as excessive even by staunch Catholic royalists such as René de Chateaubriand. Protestant politicians such as Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) took a stand against it. Cuvier did not, and probably could not afford to. As a top-ranking civil servant and political appointee, C...

© Publications scientifiques du Muséum, 2018

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