Who was Francois de La Rochefoucauld?
François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, was a noted French author of maximsand memoirs. It is said that his world-view was clear-eyed and urbane, and that he neither condemned human conduct nor sentimentally celebrated it.
Born in Paris on the Rue des Petits Champs, at a time when the royal court was vacillating between aiding the nobility and threatening it, he was considered an exemplar of the accomplished 17th-century nobleman. Until 1650, he bore the title of Prince de Marcillac.
His importance as a social and historical figure is overshadowed by his towering stature in French literature. His literary work consists of three parts—his Memoirs, the Maximes, and his letters. The Memoirs are of high interest and literary merit. A book purporting to be La Rochefoucauld’s memoirs was published in the Dutch Republic whence, despite the author’s protest, it continued to be reprinted for some thirty years.
It has now been proved to have been pieced together from the work of half a dozen men, with scarcely a third of it being La Rochefoucauld’s. Some years after La Rochefoucauld’s death, a new recension appeared, still largely adulterated but with some errors corrected. This work went unchallenged for more than a century. Only in 1817 did anything like a genuine, if still imperfect, edition appear.
Nearly all the great French critics of the 19th century wrote to some extent about La Rochefoucauld. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche greatly admired him and was influenced not only by his ethics, but also his style.
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “François de La Rochefoucauld (writer).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Jul. 2016. Web. 17 Sep. 2016.