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962
CHÂTEAUBRIANT—CHÂTEAUDUN

the Vallée-aux-loups, an estate he had bought in 1807 at Aulnay. His pamphlet De Bonaparte, des Bourbons, et de la nécessité de se rattier à nos princes légitimes, published on the 31st of March 1814, the day of the entrance of the allies into Paris, was as opportune in the moment of its appearance as the Génie du christianisme, and produced a hardly less signal effect. Louis XVIII. declared that it had been worth a hundred thousand men to him. Chateaubriand, as minister of the interior, accompanied him to Ghent during the Hundred Days, and for a time associated himself with the excesses of the royalist reaction. Political bigotry, however, was not among his faults; he rapidly drifted into liberalism and opposition, and was disgraced in September 1816 for his pamphlet De la monarchie selon la charte. He had to sell his library and his house of the Vallée-aux-loups.

After the fall of his opponent, the due Decazes, Chateaubriand obtained the Berlin embassy (1821), from which he was transferred to London (1822), and he also acted as French plenipotentiary at the Congress of Verona (1822). He here made himself mainly responsible for the iniquitous invasion of Spain—an expedition undertaken, as he himself admits, with the idea of restoring French prestige by a military parade. He next received the portfolio of foreign affairs, which he soon lost by his desertion of his colleagues on the question of a reduction of the interest on the national debt. After another interlude of effective pamphleteering in opposition, he accepted the embassy to Rome in 1827, under the Martignac administration, but resigned it at Prince Polignac’s accession to office. On the downfall of the elder branch of the Bourbons, he made a brilliant but inevitably fruitless protest from the tribune in defence of the principle of legitimacy. During the first half of Louis Philippe’s reign he was still politically active with his pen, and published a Mémoire sur la captivité de madame la duchesse de Berry (1833) and other pamphlets in which he made himself the champion of the exiled dynasty; but as years increased upon him, and the prospect of his again performing a conspicuous part diminished, he relapsed into an attitude of complete discouragement. His Congrès de Vérone (1838), Vie de Rancé (1844), and his translation of Milton, Le Paradis perdu de Milton (1836), belong to the writings of these later days. He died on the 4th of July 1848, wholly exhausted and thoroughly discontented with himself and the world, but affectionately tended by his old friend Madame Récamier, herself deprived of sight. For the last fifteen years of his life he had been engaged on his Mémoires, and his chief distraction had been his daily visit to Madame Récamier, at whose house he met the European celebrities. He was buried in the Grand Bé, an islet in the bay of St Malo. Shortly after his death his memory was revived, and at the same time exposed to much adverse criticism, by the publication, with sundry mutilations as has been suspected, of his celebrated Mémoires d’outre-tombe (12 vols., 1849–1850). These memoirs undoubtedly reveal his vanity, his egotism, the frequent hollowness of his professed convictions, and his incapacity for sincere attachment, except, perhaps, in the case of Madame Récamier. Though the book must be read with the greatest caution, especially in regard to persons with whom Chateaubriand came into collision, it is perhaps now the most read of all his works.

Chateaubriand ranks rather as a great rhetorician than as a great poet. Something of affectation or unreality commonly interferes with the enjoyment of his finest works. The Génie du christianisme is a brilliant piece of special pleading; Atala is marred by its unfaithfulness to the truth of uncivilized human nature, René by the perversion of sentiment which solicits sympathy for a contemptible character. Chateaubriand is chiefly significant as marking the transition from the old classical to the modern romantic school. The fertility of ideas, vehemence of expression and luxury of natural description, which he shares with the romanticists, are controlled by a discipline learnt in the school of their predecessors. His palette, always brilliant, is never gaudy; he is not merely a painter but an artist. He is also a master of epigrammatic and incisive sayings. Perhaps, however, the most truly characteristic feature of his genius is the peculiar magical touch which Matthew Arnold indicated as a note of Celtic extraction, which reveals some occult quality in a familiar object, or tinges it, one knows not how, with “the light that never was on sea or land.” This incommunicable gift supplies an element of sincerity to Chateaubriand’s writings which goes far to redeem the artificial effect of his calculated sophistry and set declamation. It is also fortunate for his fame that so large a part of his writings should directly or indirectly refer to himself, for on this theme he always writes well. Egotism was his master-passion, and beyond his intrepidity and the loftiness of his intellectual carriage his character presents little to admire. He is a signal instance of the compatibility of genuine poetic emotion, of sympathy with the grander aspects both of man and nature, and of munificence in pecuniary matters, with absorption in self and general sterility of heart.

Bibliography.—The Œuvres complétes of Chateaubriand were printed in 28 vols., 1826–1831; in 20 vols., 1829–1831; and in many later editions, notably in 1858–1861, in 20 volumes, with an introductory study by Sainte-Beuve. The principal authority for Chateaubriand’s biography is the Mémoires d’outre-tombe (1849–1850), of which there is an English translation, The Memoirs of . . . Chateaubriand (6 vols., 1902), by A. Teixeira de Mattos, based on the admirable edition (4 vols., 1899–1901) of Edmond Biré. This work should be supplemented by the Souvenirs et correspondances tirés des papiers de Mme Récamier (2 vols., 1859, ed. Mme Ch. Lenormant). See also Comte de Marcellus, Chateaubriand et son temps (1859); the same editor’s Souvenirs diplomatiques; correspondance intime de Chateaubriand (1858); C. A. Sainte-Beuve, Chateaubriand et son groupe littéraire sous l’empire (2 vols., 1861, new and revised ed., 3 vols., 1872); other articles by Sainte-Beuve, who was in this case a somewhat prejudiced critic, in the Portraits contemporains, vols. i. and ii.; Causeries du lundi, vols. i., ii. and x.; Nouveaux Lundis, vol. iii.; Premiers Lundis, vol. iii.; A. Vinet, Études sur la litt. française au XIXe siècle (1849); M. de Lescure, Chateaubriand (1892) in the Grands écrivains français; Émile Faguet, Études littéraires sur le XIXe siècle (1887); and Essai d’une bio-bibliographie de Chateaubriand et de sa famille (Vannes, 1896), by René Kerviler. Joseph Bedier, in Études critiques (1903), deals with the American writings. Some correspondence with Sainte-Beuve was edited by Louis Thomas in 1904, and some letters to Mme de Staël appeared in the Revue des deux mondes (Oct. 1903).


CHÂTEAUBRIANT, a town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Loire-Inférieure, on the left bank of the Chère, 40 m. N.N.E. of Nantes by rail. Pop. (1906) 5969. Châteaubriant takes its name from a castle founded in the 11th century by Brient, count of Penthièvre, remains of which, consisting of a square donjon and four towers, still exist. Adjoining it is another castle, built in the first half of the 16th century by Jean de Laval, and famous in history as the residence of Françoise de Foix, mistress of Francis I. Of this the most beautiful feature is the colonnade running at right angles to the main building, and connecting it with a graceful pavilion. It is occupied by a small museum and some of the public offices. There is also an interesting Romanesque church dedicated to St Jean de Béré. Châteaubriant is the seat of a subprefect and has a tribunal of first instance. It is an important centre on the Ouest-État railway, and has trade in agricultural products. The manufacture of leather, agricultural implements and preserved angelica are carried on. In 1551 Henry II. signed an edict against the reformed religion at Châteaubriant.


CHÂTEAUDUN, a town of north central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Eure-et-Loir, 28 m. S.S.W. of Chartres by rail. Pop. (1906) 5805. It stands on an eminence near the left bank of the Loire. The streets, which are straight and regular, radiate from a central square, a uniformity due to the reconstruction of the town after fires in 1723 and 1870. The château, the most remarkable building in the town, was built in great part by Jean, count of Dunois, and his descendants. Founded in the 10th century, and rebuilt in the 12th and 15th centuries, it consists of a principal wing with a fine staircase of the 16th century, and, at right angles, a smaller wing adjoined by a chapel. To the left of the courtyard thus formed rises a lofty keep of the 12th century. The fine apartments and huge kitchens of the château are in keeping with its imposing exterior. The church of La Madeleine dates from the 12th century; the buildings of the abbey to which it belonged are occupied by the subprefecture, the law court and the hospital. The medieval churches of St Valérien and St Jean