Astolphe de Custine
Astolphe de Custine (1790-1857) was born at the onset of the French Revolution and died under the Second Empire. His father was guillotined and he and his mother barely survived the Terror. A poet and novelist of slight repute, Custine gained recognition with the publication of the travel books Spain under Ferdinand VII and Letters from Russia
, an enduring analysis of the roots and character of Russian despotism.