François-René de Chateaubriand

François-René de Chateaubriand

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François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (fʁɑ̃swa ʁəne də ʃatobʁjɑ̃) (4 September 1768 – 4 July 1848) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 in French literature
French literature
French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens...

.

Early life and exile



Born in Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

, the last of ten children, Chateaubriand grew up in his family's castle in Combourg
Combourg
Combourg is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in north-western France.-Demographics:Inhabitants of Combourg are called Combourgeois and, more rarely Combournais.-History:...

, Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. His father, René de Chateaubriand (1718–86), was a former sea captain turned ship owner and slave trader. His mother's maiden name was Apolline de Bedée. Chateaubriand's father was a morose, uncommunicative man and the young Chateaubriand grew up in an atmosphere of gloomy solitude, only broken by long walks in the Breton countryside and an intense friendship with his sister Lucile.

Chateaubriand was educated in Dol
Dol-de-Bretagne
Dol-de-Bretagne , cited in most historical records under its Breton name of Dol, is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine département in Brittany in north-western France.-History:...

, Rennes
Rennes
Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...

 and Dinan
Dinan
Dinan is a walled Breton town and a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in northwestern France.-Geography:Its geographical setting is exceptional. Instead of nestling on the valley floor like Morlaix, most urban development has been on the hillside, overlooking the river Rance...

. For a time he could not make up his mind whether he wanted to be a naval officer or a priest, but at the age of seventeen, he decided on a military career and gained a commission as a second lieutenant in the French Army based at Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

. Within two years, he had been promoted to the rank of captain. He visited Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1788 where he made the acquaintance of Jean-François de La Harpe
Jean-François de La Harpe
Jean-François de La Harpe was a French playwright, writer and critic.-Life:La Harpe was born in Paris of poor parents. His father, who signed himself Delharpe, was a descendant of a noble family originally of Vaud...

, André Chénier
André Chénier
André Marie Chénier was a French poet, associated with the events of the French Revolution of which he was a victim. His sensual, emotive poetry marks him as one of the precursors of the Romantic movement...

, Louis-Marcelin de Fontanes
Louis-Marcelin de Fontanes
Louis-Marcelin, marquis de Fontanes was a French poet and politician.-Biography:Born in Niort , he belonged to a noble Protestant family of Languedoc which had been reduced to poverty by the revocation of the edict of Nantes. His father and grandfather remained Protestant, but he was himself...

 and other leading writers of the time. When the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 broke out, Chateaubriand was initially sympathetic, but as events in Paris became more violent he decided to journey to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 in 1791. This experience would provide the setting for his exotic novels Les Natchez (written between 1793 and 1799 but published only in 1826), Atala
Atala (novella)
Atala is an early novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, first published on 12 germinal IX . The work, inspired by his travels in North America, had an immense impact on early Romanticism, and went through five editions in its first year...

(1801) and René (1802). His vivid, captivating descriptions of nature in the sparsely settled American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 were written in a style that was very innovative for the time and spearheaded what would later become the Romantic movement in France. Later scholarship has cast doubt on Chateaubriand's claim that he had been granted an interview with George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 or whether he actually lived for a time with the Native Americans he wrote about.

Chateaubriand returned to France in 1792 and subsequently joined the army of Royalist
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 émigré
Émigré
Émigré is a French term that literally refers to a person who has "migrated out", but often carries a connotation of politico-social self-exile....

s
in Coblenz under the leadership of Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé
Louis Joseph de Bourbon was Prince of Condé from 1740 to his death. A member of the House of Bourbon, he held the prestigious rank of Prince du Sang.-Biography:...

. Under strong pressure from his family, he married a young aristocratic woman, also from Saint-Malo, whom he had never previously met, Céleste Buisson de la Vigne. In later life, Chateaubriand would be notoriously unfaithful to her, having a series of love affairs, but the couple would never divorce. His military career came to an end when he was wounded at the siege of Thionville
Thionville
Thionville , is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. The city is located on the left bank of the river Moselle, opposite its suburb Yutz.-Demographics:...

, a major clash between Royalist troops and the French Revolutionary Army
French Revolutionary Army
The French Revolutionary Army is the term used to refer to the military of France during the period between the fall of the ancien regime under Louis XVI in 1792 and the formation of the First French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. These armies were characterised by their revolutionary...

. Half-dead, he was taken to Jersey
Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

 and exile in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, leaving his wife behind.

Chateaubriand spent most of his exile in extreme poverty in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, scraping a living offering French lessons and doing translation work, but a stay in Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

 was more idyllic. Here Chateaubriand fell in love with a young English woman, Charlotte Ives, but the romance ended when he was forced to reveal he was already married. During his time in Britain, Chateaubriand also became familiar with English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

. This reading, particularly of John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

's Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse...

(which he later translated into French prose), would have a deep influence on his own literary work. His exile forced Chateaubriand to examine the causes of the French Revolution, which had cost the lives of many of his family and friends; these reflections inspired his first work, Essai sur les Révolutions (1797). An attempt in 18th Century style to explain the French Revolution, it predated his subsequent, romantic style of writing and was largely ignored. A major turning point in Chateaubriand's life was his conversion back to the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 faith of his childhood around 1798.

Consulate and Empire


Chateaubriand took advantage of the amnesty issued to émigrés to return to France in May, 1800 (under the French Consulate
French Consulate
The Consulate was the government of France between the fall of the Directory in the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire in 1804...

), Chateaubriand edited the Mercure de France
Mercure de France
The Mercure de France was originally a French gazette and literary magazine first published in the 17th century, but after several incarnations has evolved as a publisher, and is now part of the Éditions Gallimard publishing group....

. In 1802, he won fame with Génie du christianisme
Génie du christianisme
Génie du christianisme is a work by the French author François-René de Chateaubriand, written during his exile in England in the 1790s as a defence of the Catholic Christian religion, then under attack during the French Revolution...

("The Genius of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

"), an apology
Apologetics
Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers...

 for the Catholic Christian faith which contributed to the post-revolutionary religious revival in France. It also won him the favour of Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, who was eager to win over the Catholic Church at the time.

Appointed secretary of the legation
Legation
A legation was the term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an Ambassador, a legation was headed by a Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary....

 to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 by Napoleon, he accompanied Cardinal Fesch to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. But the two men soon quarrelled and Chateaubriand was nominated as minister to Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

 (in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

). He resigned his post in disgust after Napoleon ordered the execution in 1804 of Louis XVI's cousin, Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien
Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien
Louis Antoine de Bourbon, was a relative of the Bourbon monarchs of France...

. Chateaubriand was, after his resignation, completely dependent on his literary efforts. However, and quite unexpectedly, he received a large sum of money from the Russian Tsarina. She had seen him as a defender of Christianity and thus worthy of her royal support. Chateaubriand used his new-found wealth in 1806 to visit Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The notes he made on his travels would later form part of a prose epic, Les Martyrs, set during the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 persecution of early Christianity
Persecution of Christians
Persecution of Christians as a consequence of professing their faith can be traced both historically and in the current era. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith, at the hands of both Jews from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Roman Empire which controlled much of the land...

. His notes also furnished a running account of the trip itself, published in 1811 as the Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem (Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem). The Spanish stage of the journey would inspire a third novella
Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

, Les aventures du dernier Abencérage (The Adventures of the Last Abencerrage
Abencerrages
The Abencerrages , were a family or faction that is said to have held a prominent position in the Moorish kingdom of Granada in the 15th century....

), which appeared in 1826.
On his return to France he published a severe criticism of Napoleon, comparing him to Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 and predicting the emergence of a new Tacitus
Tacitean studies
Tacitean studies, centred on the work of Tacitus the Ancient Roman historian, constitute an area of scholarship extending beyond the field of history. The work has traditionally been read for its moral instruction, its narrative, and its inimitable prose style; Tacitus has been most influential...

. Napoleon famously threatened to have Chateaubriand sabered on the steps of the Tulieries Palace for it, but settled for merely banishing him from the city. Chateaubriand retired to a modest estate he called La Vallée aux Loups ("Wolf Valley"), in Châtenay-Malabry
Châtenay-Malabry
Châtenay-Malabry is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 10.8 km from the center of Paris.The commune includes the valley la vallée aux loups with green forests and pretty houses including the estate of French writer Chateaubriand. It also includes the Butte...

, 11 km (6.8 mi) south of central Paris. Here he finished Les Martyrs, which appeared in 1809, and began the first drafts of his memoirs. He was elected to the Académie française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

 in 1811, but, given his plan to infuse his acceptance speech with criticism of the Revolution, he could not occupy his seat until after the Bourbon Restoration
Bourbon Restoration
The Bourbon Restoration is the name given to the period following the successive events of the French Revolution , the end of the First Republic , and then the forcible end of the First French Empire under Napoleon  – when a coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the...

. His literary friends during this period included Madame de Staël, Joseph Joubert
Joseph Joubert
Joseph Joubert was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées published posthumously....

 and Pierre-Simon Ballanche
Pierre-Simon Ballanche
Pierre-Simon Ballanche was a French writer and counterrevolutionary philosopher, who elaborated a theology of progress that possessed considerable influence in French literary circles in the beginning of the nineteenth century...

.

Under the Restoration



After the fall of the French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

, Chateaubriand rallied to the Bourbons
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

. On 30 March 1814, he wrote a pamphlet against Napoleon, titled De Buonaparte et des Bourbons, of which thousands of copies were published. He then followed Louis XVIII
Louis XVIII of France
Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

 into exile to Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

 during the Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

 (March–July 1815), and was nominated ambassador to Sweden.

After the defeat of France, Chateaubriand, who had declared himself shocked by the 1804 execution of the duc d'Enghien, voted in December 1815 for Marshal Ney
Michel Ney
Michel Ney , 1st Duc d'Elchingen, 1st Prince de la Moskowa was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of France created by Napoleon I...

's execution at the Chamber of Peers. He became peer of France
Peerage of France
The Peerage of France was a distinction within the French nobility which appeared in the Middle Ages. It was abolished in 1789 during the French Revolution, but it reappeared in 1814 at the time of the Bourbon Restoration which followed the fall of the First French Empire...

 and state minister (1815). However, his criticism of King Louis XVIII, after the Chambre introuvable
Chambre introuvable
La Chambre introuvable was the first Chamber of Deputies elected after the Second Bourbon Restoration in 1815. It was dominated by Ultra-royalists who completely refused to accept the results of the French Revolution...

was dissolved, got him disgraced. He lost his function of state minister, and joined the opposition, siding with the Ultra-royalist
Ultra-royalist
Ultra-Royalists or simply Ultras were a reactionary faction which sat in the French parliament from 1815 to 1830 under the Bourbon Restoration...

 group supporting the future Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

, and becoming one of the main writers of its mouthpiece, Le Conservateur.

Chateaubriand sided again with the Court after the murder of the Duc de Berry
Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry
Charles Ferdinand d'Artois, Duke of Berry was the younger son of the future king, Charles X of France, and his wife, Princess Maria Theresa of Savoy....

 (1820), writing for the occasion the Mémoires sur la vie et la mort du duc. He then served as ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 (1821) and the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 (1822), and even rose to the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs (France)
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs ), is France's foreign affairs ministry, with the headquarters located on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris close to the National Assembly of France. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the government of France is the cabinet minister responsible for...

 (28 December 1822 – 4 August 1824). A plenipotentiary
Plenipotentiary
The word plenipotentiary has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers." In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent his government as a prerogative...

 to the Congress of Verona
Congress of Verona
The Congress of Verona met at Verona on October 20, 1822 as part of the series of international conferences or congresses that opened with the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, which had instituted the Concert of Europe at the close of the Napoleonic Wars....

 (1822), he decided in favor of the Quintuple Alliance
Quintuple Alliance
The Quintuple Alliance came into being at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, when France joined the Quadruple Alliance created by Russia, Austria, Prussia and the United Kingdom...

 intervention in Spain during the Trienio Liberal, despite opposition from the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

. Although the move was considered a success, Chateaubriand was soon relieved of his office by Prime Minister Jean-Baptiste de Villèle
Jean-Baptiste Guillaume Joseph, comte de Villèle
Jean-Baptiste Guillaume Joseph Marie Anne Séraphin, comte de Villèle , was a French statesman. Several time Prime minister, he was a leader of the Ultra-royalist faction during the Bourbon Restoration.- Youth :...

, the leader of the ultra-royalist group, on 5 June 1824.

Consequently, he moved towards the liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 opposition, both as a Peer and as a contributor to Journal des Débats
Journal des Débats
The Journal des débats was a French newspaper, published between 1789 and 1944 that changed title several times...

(his articles there gave the signal of the paper's similar switch, which, however, was more moderate than Le National
Le National (newspaper)
Le National was a French daily founded in 1830 by Adolphe Thiers, Armand Carrel, François-Auguste Mignet and the librarian-editor Auguste Sautelet, as the mouthpiece of the liberal opposition to the Second Restoration....

, directed by Adolphe Thiers
Adolphe Thiers
Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers was a French politician and historian. was a prime minister under King Louis-Philippe of France. Following the overthrow of the Second Empire he again came to prominence as the French leader who suppressed the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871...

 and Armand Carrel
Armand Carrel
Armand Carrel was a French journalist and political writer.-Biography:Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Armand Carrel was born at Rouen. His father was a wealthy merchant, and he received a liberal education at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen. , afterwards attending the military school at St Cyr...

). Opposing Villèle, he became highly popular as a defender of press freedom
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

 and the cause of Greek independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

.

After Villèle's downfall, Charles X appointed him ambassador to the Holy See in 1828, but he resigned upon the accession of the Prince de Polignac
Jules, prince de Polignac
Prince Jules de Polignac, 3rd Duke of Polignac , was a French statesman. He played a part in ultra-royalist reaction after the Revolution...

 as premier (November 1829).


The July Monarchy


In 1830, after the July Revolution
July Revolution
The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution or in French, saw the overthrow of King Charles X of France, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascent of his cousin Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who himself, after 18 precarious years on the throne, would in turn be overthrown...

, his refusal to swear allegiance to the new House of Orléans
House of Orleans
Orléans is the name used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. It became a tradition during France's ancien régime for the duchy of Orléans to be granted as an appanage to a younger son of the king...

 king Louis-Philippe
Louis-Philippe of France
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...

 put an end to his political career. He withdrew from political life to write his Mémoires d'outre-tombe
Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe
Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe - literally "Memoirs from Beyond the Grave" - is an autobiography in 42 volumes by François-René de Chateaubriand, published posthumously in 1848...

("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave'", published posthumously 1848–1850), which is considered his most accomplished work, and his Études historiques (4 vols., designed as an introduction to a projected History of France). He also became a harsh critic of the "bourgeois king" and the July Monarchy
July Monarchy
The July Monarchy , officially the Kingdom of France , was a period of liberal constitutional monarchy in France under King Louis-Philippe starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848...

, and his planned volume on the arrest of the duchesse de Berry caused him to be unsuccessfully prosecuted.

Chateaubriand, along with other Catholic traditionalists such as Ballanche or, on the other side of the political board, the socialist and republican Pierre Leroux
Pierre Leroux
Pierre Henri Leroux , French philosopher and political economist, was born at Bercy, now a part of Paris, the son of an artisan.- Life :...

, was then one of the few to attempt to conciliate the three terms of Liberté, égalité and fraternité
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Liberté, égalité, fraternité, French for "Liberty, equality, fraternity ", is the national motto of France, and is a typical example of a tripartite motto. Although it finds its origins in the French Revolution, it was then only one motto among others and was not institutionalized until the Third...

, beyond the antagonism between liberals and socialists concerning the interpretation to give to the seemingly contradictory terms. Chateaubriand thus gave a Christian interpretation of the revolutionary motto, stating in the 1841 conclusion to his Mémoires d'outre-tombe:
In his final years, he lived as a recluse in an apartment 120 rue du Bac, Paris, only leaving his house to pay visits to Juliette Récamier
Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier
Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard Récamier , known as Juliette, was a French society leader, whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century.-Biography:...

 in l'Abbaye-aux-Bois. His final work, Vie de Rancé, was written at the suggestion of his confessor and published in 1844. It is a biography of Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé
Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé
Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé , abbot and founder of the Trappist Cistercians....

, a worldly seventeenth-century French aristocrat who withdrew from society to become the founder of the Trappist
TRAPPIST
TRAPPIST is Belgian robotic telescope in Chile which came online in 2010, and is an acronym for TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope, so named in homage to Trappist beer produced in the Belgian region. Situated high in the Chilean mountains at La Silla Observatory, it is actually...

 order of monks. The parallels with Chateaubriand's own life are striking. Chateaubriand died in Paris during the Revolution of 1848 and was buried, as he requested, on an island (called Grand Be) near Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

, only accessible when the tide is out.

Influence



For his talent as much as his excesses, Chateaubriand may be considered the father of French Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. His descriptions of Nature and his analysis of emotion made him the model for a generation of Romantic writers, not only in France but also abroad. For example, Lord Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS , commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was a British poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement...

 was deeply impressed by René. The young Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

 scribbled in a notebook, "To be Chateaubriand or nothing." Even his enemies found it hard to avoid his influence. Stendhal
Stendhal
Marie-Henri Beyle , better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme...

, who despised him for political reasons, made use of his psychological analyses in his own book, De l'amour.

Chateaubriand was the first to define the vague des passions ("intimations of passion") which would become a commonplace of Romanticism: "One inhabits, with a full heart, an empty world" (Génie du Christianisme). His political thought and actions seem to offer numerous contradictions: he wanted to be the friend both of legitimist royalty and of freedom, alternately defending which of the two seemed most in danger: "I am a Bourbonist out of honour, a monarchist out of reason, and a republican out of taste and temperament". He was the first of a series of French men of letters (Lamartine, Victor Hugo, André Malraux
André Malraux
André Malraux DSO was a French adventurer, award-winning author, and statesman. Having traveled extensively in Indochina and China, Malraux was noted especially for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine , which won the Prix Goncourt...

) who tried to mix political and literary careers.

"We are convinced that the great writers have told their own story in their works", wrote Chateaubriand in Génie du christianisme
Génie du christianisme
Génie du christianisme is a work by the French author François-René de Chateaubriand, written during his exile in England in the 1790s as a defence of the Catholic Christian religion, then under attack during the French Revolution...

,"one only truly describes one's own heart by attributing it to another, and the greater part of genius is composed of memories". This is certainly true of Chateaubriand himself. All his works have strong autobiographical elements, overt or disguised. Perhaps this is the reason why today Mémoires d'outre-tombe are regarded as his finest achievement.

A food enthusiast, he coined the name of a dish made from a cut of tenderloin
Beef tenderloin
A beef tenderloin, known as an eye fillet in New Zealand and Australia, filet in France and Germany and fillet in the United Kingdom, is cut from the loin of beef. As with all quadrupeds, the tenderloin refers to the psoas major muscle ventral to the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae,...

 (the Chateaubriand steak
Chateaubriand steak
Chateaubriand steak is a recipe of a particular thick cut from the tenderloin, which, according to Larousse Gastronomique, was created by personal chef, Montmireil, for François-René de Chateaubriand, the author and diplomat who served Napoleon as an ambassador and Louis XVIII as Secretary of State...

).

Works


  • 1797: Essai sur les révolutions.
  • 1801: Atala
    Atala (novella)
    Atala is an early novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, first published on 12 germinal IX . The work, inspired by his travels in North America, had an immense impact on early Romanticism, and went through five editions in its first year...

    .
  • 1802: René.
  • 1802: Génie du christianisme
    Génie du christianisme
    Génie du christianisme is a work by the French author François-René de Chateaubriand, written during his exile in England in the 1790s as a defence of the Catholic Christian religion, then under attack during the French Revolution...

    .
  • 1809: Les Martyrs.
  • 1811: Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem. English translation by Frederic Shoberl
    Frederic Shoberl
    Frederic Shoberl , also known as Frederick Schoberl, was an English journalist, editor, translator and writer. Schoberl edited Forget Me Not, the first literary annual, issued at Christmas "for 1823" and translated The Hunchback of Notre Dame.-Biography:Shoberl was born in London in 1775, and...

    , 1814. Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and Barbary, during the years 1806 and 1807.
  • 1814: "On Buonaparte and the Bourbons", in Blum, Christopher Olaf, editor and translator, 2004. Critics of the Enlightenment. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. 3–42.
  • 1820: Mémoires sur la vie et la mort du duc de Berry.
  • 1826: Les Natchez.
  • 1826: Les Aventures du dernier Abencérage.
  • 1827: Voyage en Amérique.
  • 1831: Études historiques.
  • 1833: Mémoires sur la captivité de Madame la duchesse de Berry.
  • 1844: La Vie de Rancé.
  • 1848–50. Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe
    Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe
    Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe - literally "Memoirs from Beyond the Grave" - is an autobiography in 42 volumes by François-René de Chateaubriand, published posthumously in 1848...

    .

Further reading

  • Chateaubriand's works were edited in 20 volumes by Sainte-Beuve
    Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
    Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve was a literary critic and one of the major figures of French literary history.-Early years:...

    , with an introductory study of his own (1859–60)
    • Sainte-Beuve. Chateaubriand et son groupe littéraire (Paris, 1860)
    • Sainte-Beuve. Other essays in Portraits contemporains, and Causerie du lundis (1851–1862), Nouveaux lundis (1863–1870), Premiers lundis
      • Mémoires d'outreétombe, translated by Teixeira de Mattos
        Alexander Texeira de Mattos
        Alexander Louis Teixeira de Mattos was a journalist, literary critic and publisher, who gained greatest fame as a translator....

         (six volumes, New York and London, 1902)
  • Bardoux, Agénor
    Agénor Bardoux
    Agénor Bardoux was a French statesman and republican, son of Jacques Bardoux and wife Thérèse Pignet Agénor Bardoux (Bourges, Cher, 15 January 1829–Paris, 23 November 1897) was a French statesman and republican, son of Jacques Bardoux (Moulins, 3 February 1795 - Clermont-Ferrand, 8 January...

    , Chateaubriand (Paris, 1893)
  • Bertrin, La sincérité réligieuse de Chateaubriand (1901)
  • France, Anatole
    Anatole France
    Anatole France , born François-Anatole Thibault, , was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters...

    , Lucile de Chateaubriand (Paris, 1879)
  • Lescure, Chateaubriand (Paris, 1892)
  • Maurel, Essai sur Chateaubriand (Paris, 1899)
  • Pailhès, Chateaubriand, sa femme et ses amis (Bordeaux, 1896)
  • Vinet, Alexandre
    Alexandre Vinet
    Alexandre Rodolphe Vinet , was a Swiss critic and theologian.-Life:He was born near Lausanne in Switzerland.Educated for the Protestant ministry, he was ordained in 1819, when already teacher of the French language and literature in the gymnasium at Basel; and throughout his life he was as much a...

    , Madame de Staël et Chateaubriand (Paris, 1857)
  • Villemain, Abel-François
    Abel-François Villemain
    Abel-François Villemain was a French politician and writer.-Biography:Villemain was born in Paris and educated at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. He became assistant master at the Lycée Charlemagne, and subsequently at the École Normale. In 1812 he gained a prize from the Academy with an essay on Michel...

    , Chateaubriand, sa vie, ses éecrits et son influence (Paris, 1859)


For the reality and fiction in Chateaubriand's American and other journeys:
  • Bédier, Joseph
    Joseph Bédier
    Joseph Bédier was a French writer and scholar and historian of medieval France.-Biography:Bédier was born in Paris, France to Adolphe Bédier, a lawyer of Breton origin, and spent his childhood in Réunion. He was a professor of medieval French literature at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland ...

    , Etudes critiques (Paris, 1903)
  • Champion, E. L'itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem par Julien, domestique de Chateaubriand (Paris, 1904)
  • Girard, V., Chateaubriand: Etudes litt. (Paris, 1904)
  • Stathers, Chateaubriand et l'Amérique (Grenoble, 1905)


Other notable books:
  • Gribble, Chateaubriand and his Court of Women (New York, 1909)
  • Lemaître, Jules
    Jules Lemaître
    François Élie Jules Lemaître , was a French critic and dramatist.He was born at Vennecy . He became a professor at the university of Grenoble, but was already well known for his literary criticism, and in 1884 he resigned his position to devote his time to literature...

    , Chateaubriand (1912)
  • Painter, George D. Chateaubriand: A Biography Volume I (1768–93) The Longed-For Tempests
  • Thomas, L. (ed). (three volumes, Paris, 1912–13)

External links