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Memoirs from Beyond the Grave: 1800-1815

Memoirs from Beyond the Grave: 1800-1815

by François-René de Chateaubriand, translated from the French by Alex Andriesse, afterword by Julien Gracq

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In 1800, François-René de Chateaubriand sailed from the cliffs of Dover to the headlands of Calais. He was thirty-one and had been living as a political refugee in England for most of a decade, at times in such extreme poverty that he subsisted on nothing but hot water and two-penny rolls. Over the next fifteen years, his life was utterly changed. He published Atala, René, and The Genius of Christianity to acclaim and epoch-making scandal. He strolled the streets of Jerusalem and mapped the ruins of Carthage. He served Napoleon in Rome, then resigned in protest after the Duc d’Enghien’s execution, putting his own life at tremendous risk.

Memoirs from Beyond the Grave: 1800–1815—the second volume in Alex Andriesse’s new and complete translation of this epic French classic—is a chronicle of triumphs and sorrows, narrating not only the author’s life during a tumultuous period in European history but the “parallel life” of Napoleon. In these pages, Chateaubriand continues to paint his distinctive self-portrait, in which the whole history of France swirls around the sitter like a mist of dreams.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376172
Pages: 800
Publication Date:


As fresh as ever. . . . [Memoirs from Beyond the Grave 1768-1800 and Memoirs from Beyond the Grave 1800-1815] speak as much to our times as they did to the nineteenth century.
—David Platzer, The New Criterion

Chateaubriand’s self-appointed calling was as court historian who held his subject in contempt, ensuring that the truth would out about the monsters who rule the world for a spell. His eloquence won the regard even of his sworn enemy. . . . May he find comparable honor in our time and our place.
—Algis Valiunas, National Review

The best autobiography ever written . . . . The old viscount could write one hell of a sentence. It’s an incredible book.
—Paul Auster, The Book of Illusions

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