Philippe Ariès, 1914–84, French cultural historian, b. Paris. While at the Sorbonne, he failed a crucial exam necessary for a university career, and instead became an agronomic researcher and later the head of publications at the Institut Français de Recherches Fruitières d'Outre Mer. As an avocation, Ariès studied history's social and cultural aspects, often concentrating on life's temporal extremes—childhood and death. His first book, Centuries of Childhood (1960, tr. 1962), a landmark in the social history of youth, studied the widely divergent approaches to childhood from medieval times through the Enlightenment. His other books include Western Attitudes toward Death (1974), its monumental sequel The Hour of Our Death (1977, tr. 1981), and Images of Man and Death (1983, tr. 1985). He was also coauthor of Western Sexuality (1982, tr. 1985) and co-editor of the five-volume A History of Private Life (1985–87, tr. 1987–91).
See P. H. Hutton, Philippe Ariès and the Politics of French Cultural History (2004).