A Swiss writer, Professor of Belles Lettres at the University of Copenhagen and tutor of Lord Montstuart during his Grand Tour of Italy.
Paul Henri Mallet was born into a Huguenot family near Geneva, where he was also educated. In 1752 he was appointed Professor at the University of Kassel, but he soon withdrew from this position, accepting instead a professorship of Belles Lettres at the University of Copenhagen. He was always very interested in Danish literature and mythology and in 1755 published Introduction à L'histoire du Danemarch où l'on traite de la religion, des moeurs, des lois, et des usages des anciens Danois. In 1756 was published his Monuments de la mythologie et de la poesie des Celtes, et particulierement des anciens Scandinaves, which was even translated into Danish and, in 1770, by Thomas Percy into English as Northern Antiquities. These studies secured Mallet the attention of the King of Denmark who appointed him tutor to the Crown Prince of Denmark, the later King Christian VII of Denmark.
In 1760 Mallet returned to Geneva, accepting a position as Professor of History. He was invited to become tutor to the future Tsar Paul 1 of Russia, but declined, opting instead to travel with Lord Mountstuart during the latter's Grand Tour of Italy and further on to England. There, he was presented to the court and commissioned to write the history of the house of Brunswick. He had earlier been commissioned by the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel to write the history of the house of Hesse as well, and he completed both works (of 4 volumes each) in 1785.
A vocal opponent of the French revolution, he was exiled from Switzerland in 1792, being allowed to return only in 1801.