Atala / Ren�

ISBN-10: 0520002237
ISBN-13: 9780520002234
Edition: N/A
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Description: Chateaubriand was the giant of French literature in the early nineteenth century. Drawing on eighteenth-century English romanticists, on explorers in America, and on Goethe's Werther, he had a profound effect on French writers from Victor Hugo and  More...

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Book details

List price: $23.95
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 1/1/1952
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 128
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.330
Language: English

Chateaubriand was the giant of French literature in the early nineteenth century. Drawing on eighteenth-century English romanticists, on explorers in America, and on Goethe's Werther, he had a profound effect on French writers from Victor Hugo and Lamartine to George Sand and Flaubert. A quixotic and paradoxical personality, he combined impressive careers as a brilliant prose-poet, a spiritual guide, a high-ranking diplomat, and an enterprising lover.Atala and René are his two best-known works, reflecting not only his own joys, aspirations, and despair, but the emerging tastes of a new literary era. Atala is the passionate and tragic love story of a young Indian couple wandering in the wilderness, enthralled by the beauties of nature, drawn to a revivified Christianity by its esthetic charm and consoling beneficence, and finally succumbing to the cruelty of fate. Perhaps even more than Werther or Childe Harold, René embodies the romantic hero, and is not wholly foreign to the disorientation of youth today. Solitary, mysterious, ardent, and poetic, he is in open revolt against a society whose values he rejects. Withough question this archetype played a large part in determining the course of French literature up to the 1850's.

The work of Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, writer and statesman, is a remarkable early example of romanticism in France. In his Essai Historique, Politique et Moral sur les Revolutions (1797), he took a stand as a mediator between royalist and revolutionary ideas and as a Rousseauistic freethinker in religion. Atala, ou les Amours de Deux Sauvages dans le Desert (1801) is memorable for its lush descriptions of nature and of the United States. The poetic Genie du Christianisme, ou les Beautes de la Religion Chretienne (1802), appeals to the emotions rather than to reason and tries to show that all progress and goodness stemmed from the Christian religion. Rene, a short novel that is largely autobiographical, is taken from this work. Chateaubriand's autobiographical Memoires d'Outre-tombe (Memoirs from Beyond the Grave) posthumously published in 1849 is considered by many critics to be his masterpiece. A selection under the title Memoirs of Chateaubriand was translated and edited by Robert Baldick in 1961 but is currently out of print.

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