(b Mortagne, Orne Mortagne, Orne, 3 March 1868; d Le Vésinet, nr Paris, 2 June 1951). French philosopher and writer. He studied philosophy under Jules Lagneau (1851–94) at the Lycée de Vanves, near Paris, and from 1889 to 1892 studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he read avidly the works of Plato, Aristotle and Immanuel Kant. He then became a professor at the Collège de Pontivy, moving in 1893 to the Lycée de Lorient, where he developed a strong interest in politics. In 1900 he was appointed a professor at Rouen and in 1902 became a professor at the Lycée Michelet in Paris.
In 1906 Alain published the first of his propos or brief articles, in La Dépêche de Rouen; these were entitled ‘Propos d’un Normand’ and signed Alain, after the medieval poet Alain Chartier, whose work he admired. Between 1906 and 1914...