Barré, Jean-Luc 1957-

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Barré, Jean-Luc 1957-


Born 1957.


Home—France. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and historian.


Prix de la biographie de l'Académie française, 1995, for Jacques et Raïssa Maritain: Les mendiants du ciel: Biographies croisées; Prix Albert Camus, 1997, for Algérie de l'espoir fraternel.



(With Raphaël-Leygues) Delcassé, Encre (Paris, France), 1980.

(With Raphaël-Leygues) Les mutins de la mer noire, Plon (Paris, France), 1981.

Reconquérir, 1944-1945, Plon (Paris, France), 1985.

Le Seigneur-Chat: Philippe Berthelot, 1866-1934, Plon (Paris, France), 1988.

La ferveur et le sacrifice: Indochine 1951, Plon (Paris, France), 1988.

Jacques et Raïssa Maritain: Les mendiants du ciel: Biographies croisées, Stock (Paris, France), 1995, translation by Bernard E. Doering published as Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Beggars for Heaven, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 2005.

Algérie: L'espoir Fraternel, Stock (Paris, France), 1997.

Devenir De Gaulle: 1939-1943, d'après les archives privées et inédites du Général de Gaulle, Perrin (Paris, France), 2003.

Dominique de Roux: Le provocateur (1935-1977), Fayard (Paris, France), 2005.

(With Jean Mauriac) L'Après de Gaulle, Fayard (Paris, France), 2006.

Il faut partir: Correspondances inédites, 1953-1977, Fayard (Paris, France), 2007.

Le Général et le Journaliste, Fayard (Paris, France), 2008.

Contributor to books, including the de Gaulle chronology Mémoires, Gallimard (Paris, France), 2000; and Dictionnaire de Gaulle, Bouquins Robert Laffont (Paris, France), 2006.


Jean-Luc Barré is a writer and historian who chronicled the life story of one of the most significant intellectual couples in modern history, Jacques and Raïssa Maritain. Barré's biography of the two, Jacques et Raïssa Maritain: Les mendiants du ciel: Biographies croisées, was translated into English by Bernard E. Doering and published as Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Beggars for Heaven. As Barré relates in his book, Jacques Maritain came from an old, established French family, while his wife was the daughter of Russian Jews who had immigrated to France. By the time the two met, while students at the Sorbonne, Raïssa had abandoned her family's Jewish faith, and Jacques, who had been raised as a Protestant Christian, had also lost his faith. Against the prevailing currents of the time, however, both of them soon converted to Roman Catholicism.

Jacques became one of the most influential of modern Catholic philosophers, while Raïssa, though less prominent and prolific in her writings, was acknowledged as his intellectual partner and equal. Their home at Meudon was a center of intellectual activity, from which the Maritains sought to bring prominent thinkers and artists into the Church. The results were "mixed, even comic," in an age when the cultural elite was not receptive to the institution of the Church or the concept of faith, as Ralph McInerney noted in the Review of Politics.

Barré's biography of the couple is divided into three sections: one covering the years from Maritain's birth until 1918; the second covering the years from 1918 until 1929; and the final section devoted to the rest of his life, which ended in 1973. Information on his family history is presented, including his Protestant family's lasting disapproval of his conversion. Raïssa's family, on the other hand, after a brief but intense period of opposition, eventually followed their daughter's lead and converted to Catholicism as well. McInerney commented that in view of the closeness the couple shared, "the decision to write a single biography of both the Maritains seems justified," adding that "despite the title, Barre's biography is about Raïssa only insofar as her life impinges on Jacques's." Commonweal reviewer Lawrence S. Cunningham underlined the intellectual importance of the Maritains, and called Barré's account of their life "lyrical." He noted that while the book "does not explore Maritain's philosophical ideas in depth," it illustrates "how courageous he and Raïssa were" in living out their beliefs in an unreceptive cultural climate.



America, October 10, 2005, "Together, in Faith," p. 26.

Catholic Historical Review, April, 2007, John F.X. Knasas, review of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Beggars for Heaven, p. 435.

Commonweal, March 24, 2006, "Religion Booknotes," p. 28.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, November, 2006, Ralph McInerny, review of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain, p. 57.

International History Review, August, 1990, review of Le Seigneur-Chat: Philippe Berthelot, 1866-1934, p. 602.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 2007, Graham Ward, review of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain, p. 172.

New Republic, January 30, 2006, "Medieval Modernism," p. 24.

Weekly Standard, October 2, 2006, review of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain.


Notre Dame Philosophical Review, (February 14, 2008), William Sweet, review of Jacques and Raïssa Maritain.