Edmond About was a French novelist, publicist and journalist. About was born at Dieuze, in the Moselle department in the Lorraine region of France. In 1848 he entered the Ecole Normale, taking second place in the annual competition for admission in which Hippolyte Taine came first.
Among his college contemporaries, besides Taine, were Francisque Sarcey, Challemel-Lacour and Prevost-Paradol. Of them all, About was considered the most highly vitalized, exuberant, brilliant and “undisciplined”.
It is said that one of his schoolmasters told him “You will never be more than a little Voltaire,” and About’s career did tend toward Voltaire-style witty satire and commentaries on contemporary issues.