René Grousset (5 September 1885 – 12 September 1952) was a French historian, curator of both the Cernuschi and Guimet Museums in Paris, and a member of the prestigious Académie française. He wrote several major works on Asiatic and Oriental civilizations, with his two most important works being History of the Crusades (1934–1936) and The Empire of the Steppes, a History of Central Asia (1939), both of which were considered standard references on the subject.
Grousset was born in Aubais, Gard in 1885. Having graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in history, he began his distinguished career soon afterward. He served in the French army during World War I. In 1925, Grousset was appointed adjunct conservator of the Musée Guimet in Paris and secretary of the Journal asiatique. By 1930 he had published five major works on Asiatic and Oriental civilizations. In 1933 he was appointed director of the Cernuschi Museum in Paris and curator of its Asiatic art collections. He wrote a major work on the Chinese buddhist medieval pilgrim Xuanzang, particularly emphasising the importance of his visit to the northern Indian Buddhist university of Nalanda.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Grousset had published his two most important works, Histoire des Croisades (1934-1936) and L'Empire des Steppes (1939). Dismissed from his museum posts by the Vichy government, he continued his research privately and published three volumes on China and the Mongols during the war. Following the liberation of France, he resumed his curatorship of the Cernuschi Museum and in addition was appointed curator of the Guimet Museum. In 1946, Grousset was made a member of the Académie française. Between 1946 and 1949, he published four final works, concentrating on Asia Minor and the Near East.
In 1952, Grousset died at the age of 67 in Paris.
- 1922 - Histoire de l'Asie , 4 vol., Paris: G. Crès & cie. OCLC 4594662
- 1923 - Histoire de la philosophie orientale
- 1924 - Le réveil de l'Asie
- 1926 - L'épopée des Croisades
- 1928 - La Grèce et l'Orient, des guerres médiques à la conquête romaine
- 1929 - Histoire de l'Extrême-Orient
- 1929 - Sur les traces de Bouddha, tableau du VIIe siècle bouddhique
- (in English) In the Footsteps of the Buddha. JA Underwood (trans) Orion Press. New York (1971)
- 1929-1930 - Les civilisations de l'Orient, 4 vol.
- 1931 - Les philosophies indiennes
- 1934-1936 - Histoire des Croisades et du royaume franc de Jérusalem , 3 vol. Paris: Plon. OCLC 37267632
- 1936 - L'art de l'Extrême Orient : paysages, fleurs, animaux
- 1937 - De Venise à Pékin au XIVe siècle : Odoric de Pordenone (with H. Demoulin-Bernard)
- 1939 - Les sculptures des Indes et de la Chine
- 1939 - L'empire des steppes : Attila, Gengis-Khan, Tamerlan Paris: Editions Payot. OCLC 220712631
- (in English) The Empire of the Steppes. (tr., Naomi Walford). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. (1970) ISBN 978-0-8135-1304-1; OCLC 90972.
- 1941 - L'empire mongol
- 1941 - L'Asie orientale, des origines au XVe siècle (with J. Auboyer et J. Buhot)
- 1942 - Histoire de Chine
- 1944 - Le conquérant du monde : vie de Gengis-Khan
- 1945 - L'Europe orientale de 1081 à 1453 (with C. DIehl, R. Guilland et L. Oeconomos)
- 1946 - L'empire du Levant : histoire de la question d'Orient
- 1946 - Bilan de l'histoire
- 1947 - Histoire de l'Arménie des origines à 1071 Paris: Payot. OCLC 3084562
- 1948 - De la Grèce à la Chine
- 1949 - Figures de proue
- 1950 - Les premières civilisations (collective work)
- 1950 - De l'Inde au Cambodge et à Java (with J. Auboyer)
- 1951 - De la Chine au Japon
- René Grousset biography on Académie française website Archived 24 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
- Rene Grousset. In the Footsteps of the Buddha. J. A. Underwood (trans) Orion Press. New York. 1971