October 24, 2007

Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe

Chateaubriand began writing his memoirs in 1811, the year of his nomination at the Académie Française. He pursues the redaction of this vast autobiographical project for more than thirty years. He writes down the political and historical events of his time and, like Rousseau in his Confessions, says the details of his private life, talks about his personal aspirations. In order to avoid the poor biographies and to delay criticism of his enemies, Chateaubriand wanted to make his work published after his death and released from "outre-tombe", over the grave. (Indeed he changes the original title "Memoires d'une vie "). Pressured by financial problems, he sells his memoirs in 1836 to a company which secured him a decent income for the rest of his days.

In 42 volumes published, Les Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe (full text) stigmatizes the duality of Chateaubriand. The writer claims a freedom of style, exalts his personal feelings with lyricism, while the public man, provides a chronicle of his time who sees the advent of democracy to which he is opposed.
If its detractors reproch him a tumid style and an excessive vanity, Chateaubriand, by his description of nature, his analysis of inner feelings and by of his poetic prose, became a model for the generation of romantic writers. And the legend tells that Victor Hugo exclaimed as child: "I want to be Chateaubriand or nothing! ". (source : wikipedia.fr)

Currently, the librairie Loliée can offer :
  • CHATEAUBRIAND (F.A. de). Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe. Paris, Eugène et Victor Penaud, 1849, 12 volumes, in-8, bound. First edition. Joined : the subscribers list and a letter of Chateaubriand to Delloye. All the covers are in perfect condition, bound in a fresh pastiche in the 19th century style.