First published in 1950, this is a late work by Charles Baudouin, world-famous French psychologist, and takes its title from the opening chapter which examines the transformation of the myth of Progress, characteristic of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, into the myth of Modernity, characteristic of the time of writing.

The author has little sympathy for a development which he regards as essentially vulgar; the myth of Progress, he says, had its aspiration and gave man reasons for reaching out for better things, but the myth of Modernity ‘seems to give humanity reasons only for fleeing from itself, reasons for unhappiness, inasmuch as the man who runs away from himself is an unhappy man’.

This chapter is characteristic of those that follow – on Baudelaire, Verlaine and other literary topics; on Art and the Epoch, The Prestige of Action, Technique versus Mysticism, Opinion and Tolerance, etc. A broad humanity and a gentle irony are the characteristic features of this stimulating book, now available again to be enjoyed in its historical context.

chapter II|13 pages

The Clean Sweep

chapter III|5 pages


chapter IV|8 pages


chapter V|15 pages

Technique Versus Nature

chapter VI|5 pages

Baudelaire and the Modern Man

chapter VII|4 pages

Of the Prestige of Action

chapter VIII|5 pages

Communions 1

chapter IX|11 pages

Opinion and Tolerance

chapter X|5 pages


chapter XI|8 pages

Eloquence on Trial

chapter XII|6 pages

Of Reading

chapter XIII|4 pages

Technique Versus Mysticism

chapter XIV|16 pages

A Moderate View of Happiness

chapter XV|6 pages

The Paradoxes of Education

chapter XVI|7 pages

The Gift of Childhood

chapter XVII|8 pages

Confidence in Mankind

chapter XVIII|10 pages

An Apology for the Unruly

chapter XIX|3 pages

Withdrawal Into One’s Tent

chapter XX|8 pages


Verlaine Le Poète Maudit.

chapter XXI|14 pages

Art and the Epoch