François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (/ʃæˌtoʊbriːˈɑːn/; French: [fʁɑ̃swa ʁəne də ʃɑtobʁijɑ̃]; 4 September 1768 – 4 July 1848), was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who founded Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when a number of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe ("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave"), published posthumously in 1849–1850.
Historian Peter Gay says that Chateaubriand saw himself as the greatest lover, the greatest writer, and the greatest philosopher of his age. Gay states that Chateaubriand "dominated the literary scene in France in the first half of the nineteenth century".
François-René de Chateaubriand
Chateaubriand as a Peer of France (1828)
|French Ambassador to the Papal States|
4 January 1828 – 8 August 1829
|Appointed by||Jean-Baptiste de Martignac|
|Preceded by||Adrien-Pierre de Montmorency-Laval|
|Succeeded by||Auguste de La Ferronays|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
28 December 1822 – 4 August 1824
|Prime Minister||Jean-Baptiste de Villèle|
|Preceded by||Mathieu de Montmorency|
|Succeeded by||Hyacinthe Maxence de Damas|
|French Ambassador to the United Kingdom|
22 December 1822 – 28 December 1822
|Appointed by||Jean-Baptiste de Villèle|
|Preceded by||Antoine de Gramont|
|Succeeded by||Jules de Polignac|
|French Ambassador to Prussia|
14 December 1821 – 22 December 1822
|Appointed by||Jean-Baptiste de Villèle|
|Preceded by||Charles-François de Bonnay|
|Succeeded by||Maximilien Gérard de Rayneval|
|French Ambassador to Sweden|
3 April 1814 – 26 September 1815
|Appointed by||Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand|
|Member of the Académie française|
|Preceded by||Marie-Joseph Chénier|
|Succeeded by||Paul de Noailles|
|Born||4 September 1768|
Saint-Malo, Brittany, France
|Died||4 July 1848 (aged 79)|
Paris, Seine, France
Céleste Buisson de la Vigne
(m. 1792; her d. 1847)
|Profession||Writer, translator, diplomat|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of France|
|Branch/service||Armée des Émigrés|
|Years of service||1792|
|Genre||Novel, memoir, essay|
|Subject||Religion, exoticism, existentialism|
Born in Saint-Malo, the last of ten children, Chateaubriand grew up at his family's castle (the château de Combourg) in Combourg, Brittany. 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. His youthful solitude and wild desire produced a suicide attempt with a hunting rifle, although the weapon failed to discharge.
Chateaubriand was educated in Dol, Rennes and Dinan. 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. Within two years, he had been promoted to the rank of captain. He visited Paris in 1788 where he made the acquaintance of Jean-François de La Harpe, André Chénier, Louis-Marcelin de Fontanes and other leading writers of the time. When the French Revolution broke out, Chateaubriand was initially sympathetic, but as events in Paris became more violent he decided to journey to North America in 1791. He was given the idea to leave Europe by Chrétien-Guillaume de Lamoigon de Malesherbes, who also encouraged him to do some botanical studies.
In Voyage en Amérique, published in 1826, Chateaubriand writes that he arrived in Philadelphia on 10 July 1791. He visited New York, Boston and Lexington, before leaving by boat on the Hudson River to reach Albany. He then followed the Mohawk trail up the Niagara Falls where he broke his arm and spent a month in recovery in the company of a Native American tribe. Chateaubriand then describes Native American tribes' customs, as well as zoological, political and economic consideration. He then says that a raid along the Ohio River, the Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida took him back to Philadelphia, where he embarked on the Molly in November to go back to France.
This experience provided the setting for his exotic novels Les Natchez (written between 1793 and 1799 but published only in 1826), Atala (1801) and René (1802). His vivid, captivating descriptions of nature in the sparsely settled American Deep South were written in a style that was very innovative for the time and spearheaded what later became the Romantic movement in France. As early as 1916, scholarship has cast doubt on Chateaubriand's claims that he was granted an interview with George Washington and that he actually lived for a time with the Native Americans he wrote about. Critics have questioned the veracity of entire sections of Chateaubriand's claimed travels, notably his passage through the Mississippi Valley, Louisiana and Florida.
Chateaubriand returned to France in 1792 and subsequently joined the army of Royalist émigrés in Koblenz under the leadership of Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Condé. 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 was notoriously unfaithful to her, having a series of love affairs. His military career came to an end when he was wounded at the siege of Thionville, a major clash between Royalist troops and the French Revolutionary Army. Half-dead, he was taken to Jersey and exiled to England, leaving his wife behind.
Chateaubriand spent most of his exile in extreme poverty in London, scraping a living offering French lessons and doing translation work, but a stay in Suffolk (Beccles) 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. This reading, particularly of John Milton's Paradise Lost (which he later translated into French prose), had 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 Catholic faith of his childhood around 1798.
Chateaubriand took advantage of the amnesty issued to émigrés to return to France in May 1800 (under the French Consulate); Chateaubriand edited the Mercure de France. In 1802, he won fame with Génie du christianisme ("The Genius of Christianity"), an apology for the Catholic Christian faith which contributed to the post-revolutionary religious revival in France. It also won him the favour of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was eager to win over the Catholic Church at the time.
James McMillan argues that a Europe-wide Catholic Revival emerged from the change in intellectual climate from intellectually oriented classicism to emotionally based romanticism. He concludes that Chateaubriand's book:
Appointed secretary of the legation to the Holy See by Napoleon, he accompanied Cardinal Fesch to Rome. But the two men soon quarrelled and Chateaubriand was nominated as minister to Valais (in Switzerland). 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. 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 Elizabeth Alexeievna. 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, Asia Minor, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Spain. The notes he made on his travels later formed part of a prose epic, Les Martyrs, set during the Roman persecution of early Christianity. 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 inspired a third novella, Les aventures du dernier Abencérage (The Adventures of the Last Abencerrage), which appeared in 1826.
On his return to France, he published a severe criticism of Napoleon, comparing him to Nero and predicting the emergence of a new Tacitus. 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, 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 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. His literary friends during this period included Madame de Staël, Joseph Joubert and Pierre-Simon Ballanche.
He became a major figure in politics as well as literature. At first he was a strong Royalist in the period up to 1824. His liberal phase lasted from 1824 to 1830. After that he was much less active. After the fall of Napoleon, Chateaubriand rallied to the Bourbons. 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 into exile to Ghent during the Hundred Days (March–July 1815), and was nominated ambassador to Sweden.
After Napoleon's final defeat, Chateaubriand became peer of France and state minister (1815). In December 1815 he voted for Marshal Ney's execution. However, his criticism of King Louis XVIII in La Monarchie selon la Charte, after the Chambre introuvable was dissolved, got him disgraced. He lost his function of state minister, and joined the opposition, siding with the Ultra-royalist group supporting the future Charles X, 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 (1820), writing for the occasion the Mémoires sur la vie et la mort du duc. He then served as ambassador to Prussia (1821) and the United Kingdom (1822), and even rose to the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs (28 December 1822 – 4 August 1824). A plenipotentiary to the Congress of Verona (1822), he decided in favor of the Quintuple Alliance's intervention in Spain during the Trienio Liberal, despite opposition from the Duke of Wellington. Although the move was considered a success, Chateaubriand was soon relieved of his office by Prime Minister Jean-Baptiste de Villèle, the leader of the ultra-royalist group, on 5 June 1824.
Consequently, he moved towards the liberal opposition, both as a Peer and as a contributor to Journal des Débats (his articles there gave the signal of the paper's similar switch, which, however, was more moderate than Le National, directed by Adolphe Thiers and Armand Carrel). Opposing Villèle, he became highly popular as a defender of press freedom and the cause of Greek independence. 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 as premier (November 1829).
In 1830, he donated a monument to the French painter Nicolas Poussin in the church of "San Lorenzo in Lucina" in Rome.
In 1830, after the July Revolution, his refusal to swear allegiance to the new House of Orléans king Louis-Philippe put an end to his political career. He withdrew from political life to write his Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe ("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave"), published posthumously in two volumes in 1849–1850. It reflects his growing pessimism regarding the future. Although his contemporaries celebrated the present and future as an extension of the past, Chateaubriand and the new Romanticists abandoned this nostalgic outlook. Instead he foresaw chaos, discontinuity, and disaster. His diaries and letters often focused on the upheavals he could see every day—abuses of power, excesses of daily life, and disasters yet to come. His melancholy tone suggested astonishment, surrender, betrayal, and bitterness.
His Études historiques was an introduction to a projected History of France. He became a harsh critic of the "bourgeois king" and the July Monarchy, 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 divide, the socialist and republican Pierre Leroux, was one of the few of his time who attempted to conciliate the three terms of Liberté, égalité and fraternité, going beyond the antagonism between liberals and socialists as to what interpretation to give 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 at 120 rue du Bac, Paris, leaving his house only to pay visits to Juliette Récamier in 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, a worldly seventeenth-century French aristocrat who withdrew from society to become the founder of the Trappist 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 had requested, on the tidal island Grand Bé near Saint-Malo, accessible only when the tide is out.
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 was deeply impressed by René. The young Victor Hugo scribbled in a notebook, "To be Chateaubriand or nothing." Even his enemies found it hard to avoid his influence. Stendhal, 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") that later became 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 republicans, alternately defending whichever of the two seemed more 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, Paul Claudel) 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. "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.
George Brandes, in 1901, compared the works of Chateaubriand to those of Rousseau and others:
The year 1800 was the first to produce a book bearing the imprint of the new era, a work small in size, but great in significance and mighty in the impression it made. Atala took the French public by storm in a way which no book had done since the days of Paul and Virginia. It was a romance of the plains and mysterious forests of North America, with a strong, strange aroma of the untilled soil from which it sprang; it glowed with rich foreign colouring, and with the fiercer glow of consuming passion.
Events from the year 1768 in France1801 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1801.186 Celuta
Celuta (minor planet designation: 186 Celuta) is a 50 km Main belt asteroid. It was discovered by the French astronomers Paul Henry and Prosper Henry on April 6, 1878. This was the last discovery credited to the Prosper brothers. It is classified as an S-type asteroid.
The asteroid is named after Céluta, a female character in two works of fiction by François-René de Chateaubriand, Atala (1801) and René (1802). The Henry brothers had already named another of their discoveries, 152 Atala, after the heroine of Atala. Both Atala and Céluta are American Indian fictional characters.Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Organ Mesa Observatory in Las Cruces, New Mexico during 2010 gave a light curve with a period of 19.842 ± 0.001 hours and a brightness variation of 0.54 ± 0.02 in magnitude.Atala
Atala may refer to:
152 Atala, an asteroid
Atala (company), an Italian manufacturer of bicycles
Atala (cycling team), sponsored by the bicycle manufacturer
Atala (novella), a novella by François-René de Chateaubriand
Atala, Dominican Republic
Eumaeus atala, a species of butterfly
Atala, fictional training master in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Saint Attala, also known as Abbot Atala, medieval monk of Bobbio (died 622)Atala (novella)
Atala, ou Les Amours de deux sauvages dans le désert is an early novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, first published on 12 germinal IX (2 April 1801). 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. It was adapted frequently for stage, and translated into many languages.
Along with René, it began as a discarded fragment from a long prose epic the author had composed between 1793 and 1799, Les Natchez, which would not be made public until 1826. In 1802 both Atala and René were published as part of Chateaubriand's Génie du christianisme.Attala County, Mississippi
Attala County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,564. Its county seat is Kosciusko. Attala County is named for Atala, a fictional Native American heroine from an early-19th-century novel of the same name by François-René de Chateaubriand.
Myrtis Methvin was elected in 1932 as the second woman mayor in Louisiana and took office in Castor in Bienville Parish, serving from 1933 to 1945. She was born in Attala County in 1895. John D. Winters, an historian of the American Civil War, was born in Attala County in 1917.Canal de l'Eure
The Canal de l'Eure, made necessary by the insufficient water supply for the Château de Versailles and the water features of its gardens, was designed for Louis XIV of France by his military engineer Vauban, based on preliminary surveys by Philippe de La Hire. The population of the town of Versailles multiplied by a factor of ten during the first decade or so of the court's residence. Having exhausted all the nearer water sources, Louvois, at the king's command, organized the planning of this "Canal Louis XIV", which was never in fact intended to be navigable. Its length was over 80 kilometers.
Waters of the Eure were diverted somewhat downstream from Pontgouin and were led to the Etang de la Tour, today in the department of Yvelines. The ruinously expensive project, worked on from 1685 to 1690, was never completed. Passing through the gardens of the château de Maintenon, purchased by Madame de Maintenon in 1675, its arches ranging in three colossal tiers, nevertheless seemed to François-René de Chateaubriand "a work worthy of the Caesars".Chateaubriand (disambiguation)
Chateaubriand may refer to
François-René de Chateaubriand, French writer and statesman
Assis Chateaubriand, Brazilian journalist and politician
Assis Chateaubriand, municipality in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil
Rodovia Assis Chateaubriand, Brazilian road
Le Chateaubriand, Parisian restaurantClerical philosophers
Clerical philosophers is the name given to a group of Catholic intellectuals, namely the Savoyard Joseph de Maistre, and the French Louis de Bonald and François-René de Chateaubriand, who sought to undermine the intellectual foundations of the French Revolution in reaction to what they perceived as its overt anti-religious and destructive character.Cumandá (novel)
Cumandá o Un drama entre salvajes (English: Cumanda or A Drama Between Savages) is a classic Ecuadorian novel by Juan León Mera. The novel was written in 1877.
Juan León Mera sent the novel from Ambato, Ecuador to the Director of the Royal Spanish Academy on March 10, 1877. He wanted the novel to be presented to the Academy as a show of gratitude for recently being appointed a member. In the letter he pointed out that although writers such as François-René de Chateaubriand and James Fenimore Cooper had already written novels about savages in America, his was very different because it took place in the jungles of the Amazon whose natives had very different customs from those of North America, and of whom very little had been written about thus far.Grand Bé
Grand Bé is a tidal island near Saint-Malo, France. It is located at the mouth of the Rance River, a few hundred metres from the walls of Saint-Malo. At low tide the island can be reached on foot from the nearby Bon-Secours beach. On the island are the remains of an ancient fort.
François-René de Chateaubriand, a French writer native to Saint-Malo, is buried on the island, in a grave facing the sea.Les Natchez
Les Natchez is a romance written by François-René de Chateaubriand, during his exile in England, and printed in 1825-26. Its subject is the Natchez people, and it contains the Chateaubriand's impressions of America and views of life.Maurice Gambier d'Hurigny
Maurice Gambier d'Hurigny (1912 - 2000) was a French sculptor. He graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts. He won the Prix de Rome in Sculpture for La jeune Eve apparaît à l'aurore première in 1942. He also designed public sculptures, like the bust of François-René de Chateaubriand on the Square des Missions-Étrangères in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe
Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe (French: Memoirs from Beyond the Grave) is the memoir of François-René de Chateaubriand (1768–1848), collected and published posthumously in two volumes in 1849 and 1850, respectively. Chateaubriand was a writer, politician, diplomat, and historian who is regarded as the founder of French Romanticism.
Although the work shares characteristics with earlier French "memoirs" (like the Memoirs of Saint-Simon), the Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe are also inspired by the Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: in addition to providing a record of political and historical events, Chateaubriand includes details of his private life and his personal aspirations.
The work abounds in instances of the poetic prose at which Chateaubriand excelled. On the other hand, the melancholy of the autobiography helped establish Chateaubriand as the idol of the young French Romantics; a young Victor Hugo wrote: "I will be Chateaubriand or nothing."René (disambiguation)
René is a given name and a surname.
René may also refer to:
René (novella), an 1802 novella by François-René de Chateaubriand
René 41, a nickel based superalloy
René, Sarthe, a French communeRené (novella)
René is a short novella by François-René de Chateaubriand, which first appeared in 1802. The work had an immense impact on early Romanticism, comparable to that of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Like the German novel, it deals with a sensitive and passionate young man who finds himself at odds with contemporary society. René was first published as part of Chateaubriand's Génie du christianisme along with another novella; Atala, although it was in fact an excerpt from a long prose epic the author had composed between 1793 and 1799 called Les Natchez, which would not be made public until 1826. René enjoyed such immediate popularity that it was republished separately in 1805 along with Atala.Siege of Thionville (1792)
The Siege of Thionville was a conflict during the War of the First Coalition. It began at Thionville on 24 August 1792. A coalition force of 20,000 Austrians and 16,000 French Royalist troops under Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen failed to take the town, commanded by Georges Félix de Wimpffen, and raised the siege on 16 October. One of the French royalist troops was François-René de Chateaubriand, who was wounded in the battle. In the aftermath of the siege the National Convention declared that Thionville had "deserved well of the fatherland" - it named Place de Thionville and Rue de Thionville in Paris after the victory.The Genius of Christianity
The Genius of Christianity (French: 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 defense of the Catholic faith, then under attack during the French Revolution. It was first published in France in 1802, after Chateaubriand had taken advantage of the amnesty Napoleon issued to émigrés, which had allowed him to return to his home country in 1800. Napoleon, who had just signed the Concordat with the pope, initially made use of Chateaubriand's book as propaganda to win support among French Catholics. Within five years, he had quarrelled with the author and sent him into internal exile.
In The Genius of Christianity, Chateaubriand defends the wisdom and beauty of Christianity against the attacks on it by French Enlightenment philosophers and revolutionary politicians. The book had an immense influence on nineteenth-century culture and not just on religious life. In fact, it might be said its greatest impact was on art and literature: it was a major inspiration for the Romantic movement.Weltschmerz
Weltschmerz (from the German, literally world-pain, also world weariness, pronounced [ˈvɛltʃmɛɐ̯ts]) is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who believes that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. This kind of world view was widespread among several romantic and decadent authors such as Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, William Blake, the Marquis de Sade, Charles Baudelaire, Giacomo Leopardi, Paul Verlaine, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alfred de Musset, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolaus Lenau, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Heine.Frederick C. Beiser defines Weltschmerz more broadly as "a mood of weariness or sadness about life arising from the acute awareness of evil and suffering", and notes that by the 1860s the word was used ironically in Germany to refer to oversensitivity to those same concerns.
Ministry of Joseph de Villèle (14 December 1821 to 6 December 1827)
|President of the council|
|Navy and Colonies|
|Minister of State|