Edgar Quinet (ĕdgär´ kēnā´), 1803–75, French historian. A romantic nationalist, he was much influenced by Johann Gottfried von Herder and was a close friend and associate of Jules Michelet. Praising the French Revolution for weakening the power of the Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church, Quinet advocated complete elimination of church influence as the prerequisite for political freedom. His anti-Jesuit lectures at the Collège de France caused his dismissal from his teaching post in 1846. He opposed the regime of Napoleon III and was banished in 1852. After the French defeat (1870) in the Franco-Prussian War, he returned to France and entered the national assembly as a deputy.
See study by F. Furet (1986).