The New Student's Reference Work/Chateaubriand, François René, Vicomte de

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Chateaubriand (shȧ-tō′brē′än′), François René, Vicomte de, a French man-of-letters, was born in Brittany, Sept. 14, 1768. At the time of the French Revolution he took part at first with the exiled royalists, but, returning to France, was employed in a diplomatic service by Napoleon. On the murder of the Duc d'Enghein, he threw up his office as ambassador to the Republic of Valais. He supported the restoration monarchy, becoming a minister of state, and was appointed ambassador-extraordinary to England. He visited America when a young man, and afterwards traveled in the east. His love story of savage life, Atala, made his literary reputation. This appeared in 1801, and the Genius of Christianity added its quota to raise him to the foremost place among French writers of the day. Chateaubriand's books abound in passages of brilliant description, and there is no French author before him whose prose writings can compare with his in the power of conveying the beauty and mystery of nature. Chateaubriand is called the father of the French romantic school of writers. He died at Paris, July 4, 1848.