HOUSSAYE, ARSENE (1815-1896), French novelist, poet and man of letters, was born at Bruyeres (Aisne), near Laon, on the 28th of March 1815. His real surname was Housset. In 1832 he found his way to Paris, and in 1836 he published two novels, La Couronne de bluets and La Pecheresse. He had many friends in Paris, among them Jules Janin and Theophile Gautier, and he wrote in collaboration with Jules Sandeau. He produced art criticism in L'Histoire de la peinlure flamande et hollandaise (1846); semi-historical sketches in Mile de la Valliere et Mme de Montespan (1860) and Galerie de portraits du XVII' siecle (1844); literary criticism in Le Roi Voltaire (1858) and his famous satirical Hisloire du quarante et unieme fauteuil de I'academie franc,aise (1855); drama in his Comediennes (1857); poetry in his Symphonic des vingt ans (1867), Cent et un sonnet* (1873), etc.; and novels, Les Fittes d' Eve (1852) and many others. In 1849, through the influence of Rachel, he was entrusted with the administration of the Theatre Francais, a position he filled with unfailing tact and success until 1859, when he was made inspector-general of works of art. He died on the 26th of February 1896.
His Confessions, souvenirs d'un demi-siecle appeared in 1885- 1891. See also J. Lemaitre, Arsene Houssaye (1897), with a bibliography.
His son, HENRY HOUSSAYE (1848- ), the historian, was born in Paris. His early writings were devoted to classical antiquity, studied not only in books but on the actual Greek sites which he visited in 1868. He published successively Histoire d'Apelles (1867), a study on Greek art; L'Armee dans la Grece antique (1867); Histoire d'Alcibiade et de la rSpublique athenienne depuis la mart de Pericles jusqu'd I'avenement des trenle tyrans (1873); Papers on Le Nombre des citoyens d'Athenes au V*"" siecle avant I' ere chritienne (1882); La Loi agraire d Sparte (1884); Le Premier Siege de Paris en 52 av. J.-C. (1876); and two volumes of miscellanies, Athenes, Rome, Paris, I hisioire et les mceurs (1879), and Aspasie, Cleopatre, Theodora (6th ed. 1889). The military history of Napoleon I. then attracted him. His first volume on this subject, called 1814 (1888), went through no fewer than forty-six editions. It was followed by 1815, the first part of which comprises the first Restoration, the return from Elba and the Hundred Days (1893); the second part, Waterloo (1899); and the third part, the second abdication and the White Terror (1905). He was elected a member of the French Academy in 1895.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)