Henri Frédéric Amiel (28 September 1821 – 11 May 1881) was a Swiss philosopher, poet and critic.
Born in Geneva in 1821, he was descended from a Huguenot family driven to Switzerland by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
After losing his parents at an early age, Amiel travelled widely, became intimate with the intellectual leaders of Europe, and made a special study of German philosophy in Berlin. In 1849 he was appointed professor of aesthetics at the academy of Geneva, and in 1854 became professor of moral philosophy. These appointments, conferred by the democratic party, deprived him of the support of the aristocratic party, which comprised nearly all the culture of the city.
This isolation inspired the one book by which Amiel is still known, the Journal Intime (“Private Journal”), which, published after his death, obtained a European reputation. It was translated into English by Mary A. Ward at the instigation of Mark Pattison.
Although second-rate as regards productive power, Amiel’s mind was of no inferior quality, and his Journal gained a sympathy that the author had failed to obtain in his life. In addition to the Journal, he produced several volumes of poetry and wrote studies on Erasmus, Madame de Stael and other writers. He died in Geneva.