François-René Chateaubriand !!!

As was in Combourg where he spent most of his childhood from 8 to 18 , and already posted on the town and castle ; I needed to do more, Relying on the net ,books and wikipedia I put together most if not all his life in this post, One of my favorites of course, and deservently so a post in my blog, Hope you enjoy the post on this grea men, François-René Chateaubriand as I,

François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand, born September 4, 1768 in Saint-Malo (ille et Vilaine dept 35) and died July 4, 1848 in Paris, (75) was a French writer, memoirist and politician. He is considered one of the precursors and pioneers of French Romanticism and one of the great names in French literature. Chateaubriand is politically part of the royalist movement.

His first major publications, the Essay on the Revolutions (1796) and the Genie of Christianity (1802), manifest his political commitment then in favor of the counter-revolution and in defense of the society of the Ancien Régime (monarchy) ,the description of nature and the analysis of the feelings of the “I”, which he implemented in the fictions Atala (1801) and René (1802). First published as illustrations for the theses of the Genie then attached to the vast novelistic cycle of the Natchez (completely published in 1826), they are a model for the next generation of French writers. His attempt to express unspeakable suffering and his thirst for exoticism, which he reaffirms in the account of his trip to the Mediterranean, Route from Paris to Jerusalem (1811), earned him to be considered a posteriori as one of the most influential “pre-romantic” of his generation. Nevertheless, Chateaubriand’s monumental work resides in the Memoirs from Beyond the Grave, published posthumously as early as 1849, the first books of which recreate his childhood and his education in his social milieu of lower nobility in Saint-Malo and Combourg. The following books are more of a historical picture of the periods he witnessed from 1789 to 1841.

The Viscount François-René de Chateaubriand came from a ruined noble family in Guérande (44) at Hénanbihen and Saint-Malo (35) where the Rocher du Quengo family settled in the early 17C. The family which has regained its former dignity thanks to the commercial success of Chateaubriand’s father, Count René-Auguste de Chateaubriand (knight, count of Combourg, lord of Gaugres, le Plessis l’Épine, Boulet, Malestroit en Dol and others places) born on September 23, 1718 at the Manor of Touches in Guitté (Côtes d’Armor 22). René Auguste de Chateaubriand and Apolline Jeanne Suzanne de Bédée, daughter of the lord of La Bouëtardaye and count of Bédée, married in 1753 in Bourseul, The young François-René must first live away from his parents, with his maternal grandmother Madame de Bédée, in Plancoët (22) where he is placed as a nurse. Madame de Bédée often brings her to her uncle’s house, to the manor of Monchoix. He was three years old when his father, successful in business, was able to buy the Château de Combourg in 1761, where the Chateaubriand family settled in 1777. He successively studied at the colleges of Dol-de-Bretagne (1777 to 1781), Rennes (1782) and Dinan (1783).

Combourg

He came to Paris in 1788, where Chateaubriand made his literary debut by writing verses for the Almanac of the Muses. In January 1789, he took part in the Estates of Brittany and, in July of the same year, he witnessed the storming of the Bastille with his sisters Julie and Lucile. It is Chateaubriand himself who repeatedly mentions in Memoirs from beyond the Tomb his admission to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. To become a Knight of Malta Chateaubriand goes back to the 23rd ancestor who would have participated in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 ! Chateaubriand will never make profession, will never stay in Malta and will therefore never be able to pronounce his vows. He will never be a Knight of Malta of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, so he will never have the hope of the benefits expected in his Memoirs from beyond the grave. At the time of the French Revolution, in 1791, François-René moved away from France and embarked for the New World (Baltimore USA), In Voyage en Amérique, published in 1826, Chateaubriand recounts having arrived in Philadelphia on July 10, 1791, having spent in New York, Boston and Lexington. He recounts an encounter with George Washington in Philadelphia, who said to him “Well well, young man” (not confirm). He sails up the Hudson to Albany, where he hires a guide and continues to Niagara Falls, encountering the noble savage and the solitude of North America’s forests.

At the end of March 1792, he married Celeste Buisson de la Vigne, a 17-year-old descendant of a family of shipowners from Saint-Malo. They will have no posterity. On July 15, 1792, accompanied by his brother, but without his wife, he left France for Koblenz. There he joined the army of emigrants to fight against the armies of the Republic (French revolution). His young wife Céleste, who lives in Brittany, abandoned by her husband who does not give her any news, is arrested as an “immigrant’s wife”, imprisoned in Rennes, where she remains until July 27, 1794. François-René, wounded at the siege of Thionville, drags himself to Brussels, from where he is transported convalescent to the isle of Jersey. This is the end of his military career. He then went to live in London in 1793, in temporary but real destitution , living in an attic in Holborn, where he was reduced to giving French lessons and doing translations for booksellers. In 1797, he published his first work there, the Essay historique, politique et moral sur les Révolutions Anciens et Modernes,considered in their relationship with the French revolution.

In 1794, his brother, his sister-in-law (a granddaughter of Malesherbes, Louis XVI’s lawyer) and part of their family were guillotined in Paris. In 1798, his mother and his sister Julie died. Struck by these ordeals, François-René turned again to religion, and undertook the writing of the Génie du Christianisme. It is, according to him, a letter from his dying mother that brings him back to religion. The work was about to be published in London when he decided to return to France in 1800. In 1801, Atala was published, an original creation which aroused controversial admiration. Around the same time, he composed René, a work imbued with a dreamy melancholy, which becomes a model for future romantic writers, Published in Paris on April 14, 1802 the Genius of Christianity, partly written in England, and of which Atala and René, originally, were only episodes. He proposed to show that Christianity, far superior to paganism in the purity of its morality, is no less favorable to art and poetry than the fictions of antiquity. Still on the list of emigrants from which he wants to be struck off, he pleads his case with Élisa Bonaparte, sister of the First Consul. She intervened several times with her brother to show him the talent of the writer, who was removed from this list on July 21, 1801. Napoléon Bonaparte chose him in 1803 to accompany Cardinal Fesch to Rome as first secretary of the embassy Bonaparte appointed him November 29, 1803 charge d’affaires in the Republic of Valais. On March 21, 1804, he learned of the execution of the Duc d’Enghien. He immediately resigns and goes into opposition to the Empire.

He , then, traveled through Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt during the year 1806. On his return from the East, exiled by Napoleon three leagues from Paris, he acquired the Valley-aux-Loups, in the Val d’Aulnay ,currently in the town of Châtenay-Malabry(92), near Sceaux, where he shut himself up in a modest retreat. His wife Céleste joins him there, she recounts in her Memories, with humor, the picturesque conditions of the development. Chateaubriand composed Les Martyrs, a kind of prose epic, which only appeared in 1809. The notes collected during his trip formed the material for the Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem (1811). The same year, Chateaubriand was elected a member of the French Academy, but as he had, in his draft reception speech, severely blamed certain acts of the French revolution, Napoleon did not agree to let him pronounce it. He is therefore not allowed to take possession of his seat. He will occupy it only after the Restoration.(1816 return of the Bourbons monarchy),Chateaubriand enthusiastically welcomes the return of the Bourbons. From March 30, 1814, he published a virulent pamphlet against the deposed emperor, De Buonaparte et des Bourbons, which was distributed in thousands of copies and which, as he liked to believe and had Louis XVIII say in his Memoirs, would have served the king “as much as a hundred thousand men”. His wife finds a commitment by his side in Ghent during the Hundred Days, in Paris during the return of the Bourbons Throughout the Restoration, she plays the role of listened adviser to him. Talleyrand, who had covered and protected him in the past, appointed him ambassador to Sweden. Chateaubriand had not yet left Paris when Napoléon I returned to France in 1815. He then accompanied Louis XVIII to Ghent, and became a member of his cabinet. He sends him the famous Report on the State of France.

After the Emperor’s defeat, Chateaubriand voted Marshal Ney’s death in December 1815 in the Chamber of Peers. He was appointed Minister of State and Peer of France. But having, in The Monarchy according to the Charter, attacked the ordinance of September 5, 1816 which dissolved the untraceable Chamber, he was disgraced and lost his post as Minister of State. He then threw himself into the ultra-royalist opposition, and became one of the main editors of the Conservative, the most powerful organ of this party. The murder of the Duke of Berry in 1820 brought him closer to the Court: he wrote to this occasion of Memoirs on the life and death of the Duke. In 1821, he was appointed Minister of France in Berlin, then Ambassador in London, In 1822, he represented France at the Congress of Verona. On December 28 of the same year, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by Louis XVIII and remained in this position until August 4, 1824. In 1823, he received from the hands of Emperor Alexander I of Russia the Order of Saint- Andrew, and Ferdinand VII the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, He was one of the plenipotentiaries at the Congress of Verona and decided on the expedition to Spain, despite the apparent opposition of the United Kingdom. Upon his return, he received the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs. He succeeded in the Spanish adventure with the capture of Cadiz at the Battle of Trocadero in 1823. He was suddenly dismissed on June 6, 1824, From 1826 to 1828 he remained in Paris ,and was appointed ambassador to Rome (1828), where Céleste accompanied him this time and where she held her rank of ambassador brilliantly, but he resigned on the advent of the Polignac ministry, which marked his political decline.

Increasingly opposed to conservative parties, disillusioned about the future of the monarchy, he retired from business after the Revolution of 1830, even leaving the Chamber of Peers. the publication of a Memoir on the captivity of the Duchess of Berry (1833), a memoir for which he was prosecuted, but acquitted. In 1831, he also published Historical Studies (4 vol. in-8º), a summary of universal history in which he wanted to show Christianity reforming society. This work should have been the frontispiece of a History of France, long thought over but abandoned. At the end of 1831 he took the time to honor the recent Revolt of the canuts, saying that this workers’ revolt heralded a new time. His last years were spent in deep retirement, in the company of his wife. He rarely leaves his home, an apartment on the ground floor of the Hotel des Missions-Étrangères, at no. 120 rue du Bac in Paris, except to go to the nearby Abbaye-aux-Bois. He receives from his side of numerous visits, both from the romantic youth and from the liberal youth, and devoted himself to the completion of his memoirs begun in 1811. of the author, only fifty years after his death. Chateaubriand assigns the exploitation rights of the work to a “Company owner of Memories from beyond the tomb”, incorporated on August 21, 1836, which will require that the work be published on the death of its author, and will practice clean cuts, so as not to offend the public, which will inspire bitter comments in Chateaubriand: His last work, an “order” from his confessor, will be the Life of Rancé , a biography of Armand Jean Le Bouthillier de Rancé, worldly abbot, owner of the castle of Véretz in Touraine, and rigorous reformer of La Trappe, which he published in 1844.

On February 11, 1847, Céleste died, He wrote « I owe a tender and eternal gratitude to my wife whose attachment was as touching as it was deep and sincere. She has made my life more serious, more noble, more honourable, always inspiring me with respect, if not always with the strength of duty ». Chateaubriand died in Paris on July 4, 1848 at 120 rue du Bac. His remains were transported to Saint-Malo and placed facing the sea, according to his wishes, on the rock of Grand Bé, (see post) an islet in the harbor of his native town, which can be reached on foot from Saint-Malo when the sea has receded.

The Library of France gallica on Chateaubriand : https://gallica.bnf.fr/essentiels/chateaubriand

The French Academy on Chateaubriandhttps://www.academie-francaise.fr/les-immortels/francois-rene-de-chateaubriand

There you go folks, is a long post but history is usually long and when confides to great men even more, This is my humble homage to Chateaubriand,one of the great ones of my belle France,. Again, hope you have enjoy a bit of history as I like.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

8 Comments to “François-René Chateaubriand !!!”

  1. Interesting. I wasn’t really acquainted with the person and Chateaubriand’s life. I also know he dish 😉 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chateaubriand_(dish)

    Liked by 1 person

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