Châteaubriand, François René de (17661848)

Châteaubriand, François René de, eminent French littérateur, born in St. Malo, younger son of a noble family of Brittany; travelled to N. America in 1791; returned to France on the arrest of Louis XVI., and joined the Emigrants (q.v.) at Coblenz; was wounded at the siege of Thionville, and escaped to England; wrote an “Essay on Revolutions Ancient and Modern,” conceived on liberal lines; was tempted back again to France in 1800; wrote “Atala,” a story of life in the wilds of America, which was in 1802 followed by his most famous work, “Génie du Christianisme”; entered the service of Napoleon, but withdrew on the murder of the Duc d'Enghien; though not obliged to leave France, made a journey to the East, the fruit of which was his “Itinéraire de Paris à Jerusalem”; hailed with enthusiasm the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814; supported the Bourbon dynasty all through, though he wavered sometimes in the interest of liberty; withdrew from public life on the elevation of Louis Philippe to the throne; he was no thinker, but he was a fascinating writer, and as such exercised no small influence on the French literature of his day; he lived in a transition period, and hovered between legitimism and liberty, the revolution and reaction, and belonged to the Romantic school of literature—was perhaps the father of it in France (17661848).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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