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Ballanche, Pierre Simon

(1,440 words)

Author(s): McCalla, Arthur
Ballanche, Pierre Simon, * 4 Aug 1776 (Lyons), † 12 Jun 1847 (Paris) The Ballanche family owned a publishing house in Lyons. An encounter with Juliette Récamier during her period of exile under Napoleon transformed Pierre-Simon's ambitions. Upon his father's death in 1816, Ballanche sold the business and moved the next year to Paris, where he devoted the rest of his life to private study and chaste devotion to Mme. Récamier. Ballanche held himself above the political factionalism of the Restoration era, beli…


(5,631 words)

Author(s): McCalla, Arthur
Rather than attempt an exhaustive catalogue of the connections between esotericism and Romanticism, this entry is structured as a set of brief essays on interrelated topics, illustrated with representative thinkers, and followed by some remarks on the relationship between esotericism and Romanticism. Romanticism is a diverse historical phenomenon: at the very least, one must distinguish the national Romanticisms of Germany, Britain, and France; and within those national Romanticisms, distinction…

Maistre, Joseph de

(1,249 words)

Author(s): McCalla, Arthur
Maistre, Joseph de, * 1 Apr 1753 (Chambéry), † 26 Feb 1821 (Turin) Educated by the Jesuits, de Maistre became a member of the Savoy Senate in 1787. After Napoleon's invasion of Savoy, de Maistre went into exile in Switzerland. In 1803 he was appointed envoy to St. Petersburg by the King of Sardinia. He remained in Russia for fourteen years. Upon his recall, he served as magistrate and minister of state of the Sardinian Kingdom. The scholarship of Georges Goyau, Emile Dermenghem, and François Vermale in the 1910s to 1930s established that the Savoyard Catholic Traditiona…

Fabre d'Olivet, Antoine

(3,338 words)

Author(s): McCalla, Arthur
Fabre d'Olivet, Antoine, * 8 Jan 1767 (Ganges), † 27 Mar 1825 (Paris) The immensely curious and massively erudite self-proclaimed Neo-Pythagorean Fabre d'Olivet was born to a wealthy Protestant family. As a young man, he came under the influence of Delisle de Sales, an Enlightenment rationalist with a penchant for historical speculation. Under Delisle's influence, Fabre d'Olivet wrote Lettres à Sophie sur l'histoire (1801), a resume of ancient and modern cosmogonic systems together with a history of civilizations. Fabre d'Olivet's other notable pre-theosophical work is Le Trouba…