FLOURENS, GUSTAVE (1838-1871), French revolutionist and writer, a son of J.P. Flourens (1794-1867), the physiologist, was born at Paris on the 4th of August 1838. In 1863 he undertook for his father a course of lectures at the Collège de France, the subject of which was the history of mankind. His theories as to the manifold origin of the human race, however, gave offence to the clergy, and he was precluded from delivering a second course. He then went to Brussels, where he published his lectures under the title of Histoire de l'homme (1863); he next visited Constantinople and Athens, took part in the Cretan insurrection of 1866, spent some time in Italy, where an article of his in the Popolo d'Italia caused his arrest and imprisonment, and finally, having returned to France, nearly lost his life in a duel with Paul de Cassagnac, editor of the Pays. In Paris he devoted his pen to the cause of republicanism, and at length, having failed in an attempt to organize a revolution at Belleville on the 7th of February 1870, found himself compelled to flee from France. Returning to Paris on the downfall of Napoleon, he soon placed himself at the head of a body of 500 tirailleurs. On account of his insurrectionary proceedings he was taken prisoner at Créteil, near Vincennes, by the provisional government, and confined at Mazas on the 7th of December 1870, but was released by his men on the night of January 21-22. On the 18th of March he joined the Communists. He was elected a member of the commune by the 20th arrondissement, and was named colonel. He was one of the most active leaders of the insurrection, and in a sortie against the Versailles troops in the morning of the 3rd of April was killed in a hand-to-hand conflict at Rueil, near Malmaison. Besides his Science de l'homme (Paris, 1869), Gustave Flourens was the author of numerous fugitive pamphlets.
See C. Prolès, Les Hommes de la révolution de 1871 (Paris, 1898).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)