Pierre Simon Ballanche, a French writer and philosopher, born in Lyons in 1776, died in Paris, June 12, 1847. He first followed the trade of his father, who was a bookseller and a printer. In 1801 he published Du sentiment considere dans ses rapports avec la litte-rature et les arts. In 1814 appeared his historical novel Antigone, and subsequently an Essai sur les institutions iociales dans leurs rapports avec les idees nouvelles, in which he sought to reconcile national tradition with the progressive law of modern society. These works made little impression upon the general public; but his l'homme sans nom (1820), a novel which bitterly denounced some old revolutionary leaders, was more successful. After this publication Balhmche, who had previously removed to Paris, devoted himself to purely speculative studies. In spite of their abstruse-ness, his subsequent works were eagerly sought for. In Oipliee he symbolically expounded the way in which every great social evolution must be accomplished. The Prolegomenes, which serve as an introduction to Orphee, and his great work Palingenesie sociale, contain a full exposition of his prophetic and mystical theories.
These theories are summed up, though not made more intelligible, in La rision d'lle-bal, chef d'un clan ecossais, which was his last publication. He was much respected by Chateaubriand and Mme. Recamier.