Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376172
Pages: 704
Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Memoirs from Beyond the Grave: 1800-1815

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

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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 he subsisted on nothing but hot water and two-penny rolls.

Over the next fifteen years, his life changed utterly. 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. For these were also the years of Bonaparte’s secret police, censorship, and warmongering—all of which Chateaubriand would come to oppose.

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, from his birth on Corsica to his death on Saint Helena. 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.