Maxims

ISBN-10: 014044095X
ISBN-13: 9780140440959
Edition: 1959
List price: $15.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: This is the first-ever French-English edition of La Rochefoucauld's Reflexions, ou sentences et maximes morales, long known in English simply as the Maxims. The translation, the first to appear in forty years, is completely new and aims -- unlike  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 1959
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/28/1982
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.704
Language: English

This is the first-ever French-English edition of La Rochefoucauld's Reflexions, ou sentences et maximes morales, long known in English simply as the Maxims. The translation, the first to appear in forty years, is completely new and aims -- unlike all previous versions -- at being as literal as possible. This involves, among other things, rendering the same word -- for example, amour-propre as self-love - as consistently throughout as good sense allows. This also means that the translators have made every effort to maintain La Rochefoucauld's word order. This allows the reader the best vantage point for viewing La Rochefoucauld's dramatic and paradoxical juxtapositions of words and ideas, juxtapositions of the utmost importance to understanding his thought. Despite the translation's concern with literalness, careful attention has been paid to the nuances of the literary character of the Maxims.

Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld was born in Paris in 1613. Descended from a distinguished and titled Poitou family, he inherited the title of Duke when his father died in 1653. After serving in the army, where he participated in the battles of the Fronde, La Rochefoucauld took a prominent part in court life and politics during the reigns of the French kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV. In his memoirs, which were first published in 1662, he recounted his life as a young man in the army and the French court, from his numerous fights and amorous liaisons to his participation in an attempt to assassinate a Cardinal. In later years, strongly influenced by Jansenism, La Rochefoucauld began to think about the meaning of Christian life. He wrote his thoughts out in the form of maxims, a uniquely French form of epigrams. Brief, clever statements, usually with a moral focus, his maxims illustrate his perception of human behavior in often paradoxical and surprising ways. Because statements such as "Our virtues are most often vices disguised" or "We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears" are as relevant now as when they were written some 300 years ago, La Rochefoucauld's Maxims are still popular today. Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld died in 1680.

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