Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chateaubriand, Francois Rene, Vicomte de (1768-1848), a French writer and politician - the father of the French Romantic school - was born at St. Malo, and spent his early youth among the romantic surroundings of Brittany. In 1790 he departed for America with a view to finding the North-West Passage, and spent eight months there, the events of which he recorded in his Voyage en Amerique. He returned about the time of Louis XVI.'s execution, and went with the other emigres to England, where he lived for some years, maintaining himself by literary labour, studying at the same time English literature, and maturing his prose epic of the Red Indian race, The Natchez. In 1797 he published an Essai sur les Revolutions, and having returned to France in 1800 he published in the next year Atala. This, which is similar in style and effect to Paul and Virginia, made a great sensation, and established its author's reputation by its style and eloquence, which marked a new departure in French literature. In 1802 he published his Genie du Christianisme, which displays more eloquence than argument, and pleased Napoleon, who was just then restoring the Catholic religion in France. He appointed Chateaubriand to a diplomatic post, which the latter resigned upon the murder of the Duc d'Enghien. Rene, which is thought to reveal the state of Chateaubriand's own heart, had already appeared before Les Natchez was published in 1826, which year saw also the publication of the Last of the Abencerrages. As a politician, Chateaubriand had published in 1814 a pamphlet Bonaparte et les Bourbons, a work which Louis XVIII. said stood him in the stead of 100,000 men, and in gratitude the king made much of him. He, however, was in the Liberal Opposition, and on a change of government was successively ambassador to England, representative at the Congress of Verona, and ambassador to Rome. On the accession of Louis Philippe he refused allegiance, and his political life was practically ended. His posthumous Memoires d'outre Tombe probably occupied most of the time of his retirement. He is buried, by his own desire, on a rocky islet off St. Malo.