On History: Introduction to World History (1831); Opening Address at the Faculty of Letters, 9 January 1834; Preface to History of France (1869) - cover image

Book Series


Lionel Gossman; Edward K. Kaplan; Flora Kimmich

Published On





  • English

Print Length

174 pages (vi + 168)


Paperback156 x 9 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.37" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 11 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.44" x 9.21")


Paperback560g (19.75oz)
Hardback935g (32.98oz)



OCLC Number





  • HBG
  • HBJD
  • HBAH


  • HIS013000
  • HIS037060
  • HIS016000


  • D21


  • Jules Michelet
  • History of France
  • World History
  • French Historiography
  • Romantic Historiography
  • English translation
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On History

Introduction to World History (1831); Opening Address at the Faculty of Letters, 9 January 1834; Preface to History of France (1869)

  • Jules Michelet (author)
  • Lionel Gossman (translator)
  • Edward K. Kaplan (translator)
  • Flora Kimmich (translator)
Edited by Lionel Gossman, this volume contains three programmatic essays by Michelet. The first two are available here for the first time in English translation. The third, the Preface to the 1869 edition of the Histoire de France, originally published in its first English translation by Edward K. Kaplan in his Michelet’s Poetic Vision (1977), has been revised by the translator for this volume. Curated by leading scholars and translators this volume provides essential reading for anybody interested in modern French and European history. One of the greatest Romantic historians and immensely popular during his lifetime, Jules Michelet (1798-1874) fell into disfavour among the positivist historians who came after him and who regarded his work with disdain as "literature." In the 1920s and 30s, however, he began to be rediscovered and rehabilitated by the members of the influential Annales school. The objects of Michelet’s interest—living conditions, popular mentalities, laws and the arts, the historian’s relation to the objects of his study, no less than political history—have since come to occupy a central place in modern historical research. A free online-only supplement contains an essay on Michelet by John Stuart Mill from the Edinburgh Review (January 1844) and several studies of Michelet by Lionel Gossman. The University Committee on Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences of Princeton University has generously contributed to the publication of this volume.

Additional Resources

The translation of Introduction to World History and of the Opening Address at the Faculty of Letters presented in this volume are based upon the following French edition:

J. Michelet, Introduction à l’histoire universelle, suivi du Discours d’ouverture prononcé à la Faculté des Lettres le 9 janvier 1834 (Paris: Librairie Classique de L. Hachette, 1834)

The first edition of the book, published in April 1831 with the same publisher.

The translation of the 1869 Preface to the History of France is based on the edition of Charles Morazé (Paris: Armand Colin, 1962), and checked against Michelet’s Oeuvres complètes, volume IV, ed. Paul Viallaneix (Paris: Flammarion, 1974).

A 1880 edition of the book (Paris: A. Lacroix & Co.) is available at http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Histoire_de_France_%28Jules_Michelet%29, while another edition by Gabriel Monod can be read on-line at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38243.

Please find below the online supplements available for this volume:

[document]Lionel Gossman, ‘Jules Michelet and Romantic Historiography,’ European Writers: The Romantic Century, ed. Jacques Barzun (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985), pp 571-606

From Ed. George Stade. Scribner Writers Online - European Writers Collection. © 2010, by kind permission of Cengage Learning, Inc.

[document]Lionel Gossman, ‘Jules Michelet: National History, Biography, Autobiography.’

Adapted from the article ‘Jules Michelet: histoire nationale, biographie, autobiographie’, Littérature, May, 1996, 102: 29-54.

[document]Lionel Gossman, ‘Michelet and Natural History: The Alibi of Nature’,

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 3 September 2001, 145: 283-333. © 2001, by kind permission of the American Philosophical Society.



(pp. 5–5)
  • Lionel Gossman

Chronology of Jules Michelet

  • Jules Michelet
  • Lionel Gossman
  • Edward K. Kaplan
  • Flora Kimmich

Michelet, Introduction to World History

(pp. 23–23)
  • Jules Michelet
  • Lionel Gossman
  • Edward K. Kaplan
  • Flora Kimmich

Michelet, Opening Address at the Faculty of Letters, 9 January 1834

  • Jules Michelet
  • Lionel Gossman
  • Edward K. Kaplan
  • Flora Kimmich

Michelet, Preface to the History of France (1869), with Introduction by Edward K. Kaplan

(pp. 133–133)
  • Lionel Gossman


Jules Michelet


Lionel Gossman

M. Taylor Pyne Professor of Romance Languages (Emeritus) at Princeton University

Edward K. Kaplan

Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Professor in the Humanities at Brandeis University

Flora Kimmich