Chateaubriand, Vicomte François René de

(1768–1848)
   Devotional Writer.
   Chateaubriand was born in St Malo, France, of aristocratic parents. Initially he supported the French Revolution, but during the Terror he fled to England, only returning to France in 1800. After the deaths of his mother and sister, he had experienced a deep religious conversion and Chateaubriand is chiefly remembered for his religious classic, Génie du Christianisme, ou Beautés de la Religion Chrétienne, published in 1802. This is a significant work in that it marks the passing of a rational defence of religion, based on natural theology, in favour of an emotional and aesthetic justification. In the Génie, Chateaubriand argued that Christianity is the most poetic religion known to humanity and is thus the main inspiration for the art and civilisation of Europe.
   J. Evans, Life of the Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1939);
   V. Giraud, Le Christianisme de Chateaubriand, 2 vols (1925–8) [no English translation].

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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