François-René de Chateaubriand’s memoirs, essential classics since originally published after the author’s death in 1848, are appearing in a new English translation by Alex Andriesse, the first complete version in English in more than a century. So far, two volumes have been published, the first in 2018, the second at the end of 2022. These recollections, written intermittently during the second half of Chateaubriand’s life and presented after his death as if composed from the tomb, are as fresh as ever and speak as much to our times as they did to the nineteenth century.

Chateaubriand (1768–1848) was a Breton aristocrat born in the eighteenth century and a leader of the French Romantic movement in the nineteenth. As master of French prose, he is rivaled only by Victor Hugo. Anthony Powell, reviewing in 1961 an abridged translation of these memoirs by Robert...


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