LAVISSE, ERNEST (1842- ), French historian, was born at Nouvion-en-Thierache. Aisne, on the 17th of December 1842. In 1865 he obtained a fellowship in history, and in 1875 became a doctor of letters; he was appointed maltre de conference (1876) at the ecole nonnale superieure, succeeding Fustel de Coulanges, and then professor of modern history at the Sorbonne (1888), in the place of Henri Wallon. He was an eloquent professor and very fond of young people, and played an important part in the revival of higher studies in France after 1871. His knowledge of pedagogy was displayed in his public lectures and his addresses, in his private lessons, where he taught a small number of pupils the historical method, and in his books, where he wrote ad probandum at least as much as ad narrandum; class-books, collections of articles, intermingled with personal reminiscences (Questions d~enseignement national, 1885; Etudes ci (tudiamts, 1890; A propos de nos ecoles. 1895), rough historical sketches ( \'uf generate de F kistoire politiaue de F Europe, 1800), etc. Even his works of learning, written without a trace of pedantry, are remarkable for their lucidity and vividness, After the Franco-Prussian War Lavisse studied the development of Prussia and wrote Elude sur Fune des engines de la monarckif pmssifnne, on la Marcke de Brandebourg sons la dynastie ascanienne. which was his thesis for his doctor's degree in 1875, and Etudes sur rkistoire de la Prusse (1879). In connexion with his study of the Holy Roman Empire, and the cause of its decline, he wrote a number of articles which were published in the Reeue des Deux Mondes; and he wrote Trots empercurs d'Allfmagne (1888), La Jeunessf du grand Frederic (1891) and Frtdfric II. araui son atimmenl (1893) when studying the modern German empire and the grounds for its strength. With his friend Alfred Rambaud he conceived the plan of L'Histoire gtntraie du IV' siede jusqii'd nos jours, to which, however, he contributed nothing. He edited the Histoire de France depuis les orfginfs jusqu'a la Revolution (1901- ), in which he carefully revised the work of his numerous assistants, reserving the greatest part of the reign of Louis XIV. for himself. This section occupies the whole of volume vii. It is a remarkable piece of work, and the sketch of absolute government in France during this period has never before been traced with an equal amount of insight and brilliance. Lavisse was admitted to the Academic Francaise on the death of Admiral Jurien de la Graviere in 1892, and after the death of James Darmesteter became editor of the Revue de Paris. He is, however, chiefly a master of pedagogy. When the ecole normale was joined to the university of Paris, Lavisse was appointed director of the new organization, which he had helped more than any one to bring about.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)