夏多布里昂《墓中回憶錄》Memoires d'outre-tombe [memoirs from beyond the tomb] (1849-50)此書為原書(中國也有全譯本)的1/8，是「意在精彩」。沒錯，除了沒對作者一生概述之外，選文的確有意思。譬如說，『華盛頓拿破崙異同論』等，都值得一讀。
Chateaubriand, François-René, vicomte de (1768-1848). Born in Saint-Malo of an old Breton noble family whose declining fortunes his father somewhat restored, Chateaubriand spent his youth there or with his grandmother, or particularly at Combourg, a medieval château acquired by his father which provided rich material for his Romantic imagination. Destined for the army, he was presented at court in 1787 but also frequented literary circles with Fontanes, La Harpe, Ginguené, and particularly Malesherbes. Partly at the latter's prompting, after witnessing the beginnings of the Revolution, Chateaubriand set forth for North America (June 1791-January 1792), visiting Philadelphia, New York, Niagara Falls, and venturing west as far as Ohio. Recent scholarship has established that the itinerary he claimed, often considered fantastic, was quite accurately described. Chateaubriand was to put his American sojourn to considerable literary profit, writing a prose epic, Les Natchez (published 1826), of the amorous and other adventures of the Frenchman René among the Indians and in the French and Indian wars.
After his return to France he joined the army of the émigré princes, was wounded at the Battle of Thionville, and made his way from there to Jersey and then England, only returning to France in 1800. In England, his life was difficult, but he wrote extensively and in 1797 published his Essai historique, politique et moral sur les révolutions anciennes et modernes dans leurs rapports avec la révolution française, a deeply pessimistic book equating all revolutions, announcing the end of Christianity, combining political theory and personal outpourings. Back in France, he achieved fame with the publication of Atala (1801), originally a part of Les Natchez, and then of Le Génie du christianisme (1802), which happily coincided with Napoleon's efforts to restore Catholicism. The chapter on the prototypical Romantic hero René was much appreciated. According to Le Génie, man's desire for the absolute is infinite, and only religion can satisfy that desire. Christianity satisfies the imagination and the emotions, inspires beautiful works of art, contributes to civilization and progress. The aesthetic, positivistic aspect of his apologetics—Christianity is true because it is good and beautiful—was to have widespread influence.
An appreciative Napoleon sent him to Rome, but he there tangled with Cardinal Fesch. In 1804, indignant at the assassination of the duc d'Enghien, he resigned and became increasingly hostile towards the Napoleonic regime. He moved to La Vallée aux Loups, a country home to the south of Paris where he redesigned both house and garden. In 1806 he embarked on a lengthy trip to the Orient (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Egypt, Carthage, finally Spain) which led to his Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem (1811). Like much travel literature of the period, the book is something of a compendium and a rewriting, but many of the descriptive passages are rich. He also produced Les Martyrs ou le Triomphe de la religion chrétienne (1809), another prose epic about the triumph of Christianity over paganism. The Christian hero loves a pagan maid, she becomes converted, they are separated, then reunited, then martyred. He also regularly wrote political journalism for the Mercure de France, and had a series of amorous engagements with often notable women (his marriage, made hastily in 1792, was not a happy one) including Delphine de Sabran, contesse de Custine and mother of Astolphe de Custine, Claire de Kersaint, duchesse de Duras, and, especially from 1817 until his death, Juliette Récamier.
He was elected to the Académie Française in 1811, but not allowed to read his anti-Napoleon discours de réception. In 1814 he published De Buonaparte et des Bourbons, a virulent attack against Napoleon then in exile on Elba (Chateaubriand had written it before his fall from power); Louis XVIII said the volume ‘was worth an army’. He accompanied Louis XVIII to Ghent during the Hundred Days. Under the second Bourbon Restoration he had a highly chequered political career, largely because he sought to combine loyalty to legitimacy with the defence of political liberties, especially the liberty of the press; also, his political ambitions were not always accompanied by the necessary competence and skills. His De la monarchie selon la Charte (1816), a defence of Louis XVIII's policies but with a conclusion sharply critical of some governmental actions, led to his fall from favour and one of many serious financial crises, forcing him to sell La Vallée aux Loups. He soon returned to partial favour, served as ambassador to Berlin and to London, was present at the Congress of Verona, and was minister of foreign affairs at the time of the 1823 intervention in Spain. His relations with Charles X were quite strained, but he was appointed ambassador to Rome in 1828.
After the July Revolution, Chateaubriand, who in many ways had prepared its advent, chose to resign from the Chambre des Pairs out of loyalty to the elder branch of the Bourbons, and began writing his Histoire de France (1831). In 1832 his support of the duchesse de Berry in her effort to foment a civil war and restore the Bourbons led to two weeks' imprisonment, but he was acquitted. His voyages and efforts to reconcile Charles X with his quixotic daughter-in-law were quite unsuccessful. In 1838 he and his wife moved from their home in the rue d'Enfer (next to an infirmary she had directed and supported by the sale of chocolate) to the Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre, in the rue du Bac and near L'Abbaye-aux-Bois where Madame Récamier lived and where Chateaubriand went daily; it was one of the most prestigious literary salons of the time. At the behest of his spiritual director, he wrote a Vie de Rancé (1849); the work is also a meditation by Chateaubriand on his own life. In 1847 he finished his Mémoires d'outre-tombe, perhaps his most appreciated work today. He was buried, as he had carefully planned, in the Romantic island setting of the Grand Bé, in the Atlantic near Saint-Malo.
Considered by the Romantics and many since as their founding father, with his melancholy vision and his interest in the exotic, the passions, the imagination, Chateaubriand was also a perceptive observer of and important participant in the political scene of his days, and possessed real merit as an apologist of the Christian faith and as an historian and essayist. His combination of acuity, at times bordering on cynicism, revery, and sensibility produced writings which have been greatly appreciated by writers as different as Hugo, de Gaulle and Barthes.
[Frank Paul Bowman]夏多布里昂：他想“敘述”激盪洶湧的一生