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LECHA, Gérard. "Han Ryner or the Social Thinking of an Individualist in the Early Part of the 20th Century"

Sunday 21 March 2004

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Thèse de doctorat (nouveau régime): littérature française, dir. Daniel Leuwers, Tours: 1993. [s.l.]: [s.n.]

TOURS-BU Lettres


Han Ryner is a French writer who, between 1880 and 1938 published about fifty books of various genres (novels, tales, essays, plays, poetry). At the age of 51, in 1912, he was proclamed prince of the story tellers, on J.-H. Rosny the Elder’s initiative and by the readers of L’Intransigeant, the famous Parisian newspaper.

Even though individualism and social thought are commonly regarded as highly antinomic, this thesis attempts to show through many references to the works and militant actions of H. Ryner, that the social thinking of that individualist, both an author and a many sided intellectual, lead him, in those days, to commitments not devoid of interests for his contemporary citizens.

For he knew how to expound what he called a harmonic individualism, distinguishing it from the "selfish" or "dominating" individualism which he rejected in the name of his code of ethics and humanism. That is why, even though he was regarded as a secular mystic, Han Ryner was a philosopher in the ancient meaning of the word ; that is to say a man of wisdom expressing himself in a language, somewhat old-fashioned at times, but often refined and remarklably delicate. Therefore, our post-modern society, doomed to chaos and confusion could no doubt, profit from the contact with this open and pluralistic philosophy.