Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, one of the most respected critics in nineteenth century France as well as the rest of Europe, lived during a rich period of French literary activity, from the 1820s to the 1860s. He chronicled the literature of his time, as well as reviewed the classics of the past. He was the pre-eminent literary critic in France for over forty years.

He was born at Boulogne-sur-Mer on December 23, 1804, son of Charles François de Sainte-Beuve, a tax collector, and Augustine Coilliot, housewife, of part-English heritage. He was their only child. Tragedy entered early in Sainte-Beuve’s life, when his father died two months before his birth. Of this, he once said that his cradle “rested on a coffin” (…

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Brantingham, Philip. "Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 September 2009
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]