Nineteenth Century French Neuroscientists

French Neuroscientists

François Magendie

1783 - 1855

Pioneer experimental physiologist who was the first to prove the functional difference of the spinal nerves. A Magendie Eye is a medical condition caused by cerebellar lesions.

Jean-Pierre Flourens

1794 - 1867

Physiologist: early advocate of anesthesia; proved that the mind is located in the brain, not the heart

Louis Francisque Lélut

1804 - 1877

Medical doctor and philosopher; started that Socrates and Pascal were insane

Duchenne de Boulogne

1806 - 1875

Neurologist and electrophysiologist; genuine smiles named "Duchenne smiles"

Claude Bernard

1813 - 1878

Physiologist; wrote "An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine"

Paul Broca

1824 - 1880

Physician; study of the patient "Tan" led to the localization of speech production to the left inferior frontal region of the brain

Jean-Martin Charcot

1825 - 1893

Neurologist; studied and named neuronal diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease

Jules Bernard Luys

1828 - 1897

Neurologist; published the first photographic atlas on the brain and nervous system in 1873 !

Jules Cotard

1840 - 1889

Neurologist; named and described the Cotard delusion (a patient's belief that they are dead, do not exist or do not have bodily organs)

Charles Robert Richet

1850 - 1935

Physiologist; won the Nobel Prize "in recognition of his work on anaphylaxis" in 1913

Pierre Marie

1853 - 1940


One of Marie's earlier contributions was a description of a disorder of the pituitary gland known as acromegaly. His analysis of the disease was an important contribution in the emerging field of endocrinology. Marie is also credited as the first to describe pulmonary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy, cleidocranial dysostosis and rhizomelic spondylosis. In his extensive research of aphasia, his views concerning language disorders sharply contrasted the generally accepted views of Paul Broca (1824–1880).

Georges Gilles de la Tourette

1857 - 1904

Mentored by Charcot. French physician who could be classified today as a neurologist who is the eponym of Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition.

Joseph Babinski

1857 - 1932

Neurologist; study of the plantar reflex led to understanding of brain and spinal cord injury (in patients who exhibit the Babinski sign/reflex)

French Authors

Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

1783 - 1842

"The Red and the Black"

• One of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism

• Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology

Victor Hugo

1802 - 1885

Romantic poet and novelist most famous for his works "Les Misérables" and "Notre-Dame de Paris"

Gustave Flaubert

1821 - 1880

"Madame Bovary"

•Exercised an extraordinary influence over Guy de Maupassant, Edmond de Goncourt, Alphonse Daudet, and Zola

Charles Baudelaire

1821 - 1867

Coined the term "modernity" to the fleeting experience of ubran life.
His innovative prose-poetry style Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others.

Edmond de Goncourt

May 26, 1822 - July 16, 1896

• Founder of the Académie Goncourt.
• Académie awards the Prix Goncourt--the most prestigious prize in French language literature, given to "the best imaginary prose work of the year".
• Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Tournier, Marguerite Duras and Romain Gary (who exceptionally won it twice) are among the best-known authors who have won the century-old prize.

Émile Zola

2 April 1840 - 29 September 1902


• Most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.

Alphonse Daudet

13 May 1840 - 16 December 1897

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Stéphane (Étienne) Mallarmé

1842 - 1898

Symbolist poet who explored the form and content in poems such as "Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard" ("A roll of the dice will never abolish chance")

Paul Verlaine

1844 - 1896

Symbolist poet who used subtle suggestion, rhyme, and meter to evoke moods and emotions.

Guy de Maupassant

1850 - 1893

"Le Horla" (semi-autobiographical journal about madness and suicide)
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Arthur Rimbaud

1854 - 1891

Surrealist poet who examined sensory perception in "Le bateau ivre" ("The Drunken Boat") and the shifting nature of identity in his "Lettre du voyant" ("Letter of the Seer").

Marcel Proust

10 July 1871 - 18 November 1922


À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time)

•In Search of Lost Time examines the vast changes that occurred in France during the Third Republic and the fin de siècle, most particularly, the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the middle classes.