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Atala and René

Atala and René

A New Translation by IRVING PUTTER
Copyright Date: 1980
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  • Book Info
    Atala and René
    Book Description:

    Chateaubriand was the giant of French literature in the early nineteenth century. Drawing on eighteenth-century English romanticists, on explorers in America, and on Goethe's Werther, he had a profound effect on French writers from Victor Hugo and Lamartine to George Sand and Flaubert. A quixotic and paradoxical personality, he combined impressive careers as a brilliant prose-poet, a spiritual guide, a high-ranking diplomat, and an enterprising lover. Atala and René are his two best-known works, reflecting not only his own joys, aspirations, and despair, but the emerging tastes of a new literary era. Atala is the passionate and tragic love story of a young Indian couple wandering in the wilderness, enthralled by the beauties of nature, drawn to a revivified Christianity by its esthetic charm and consoling beneficence, and finally succumbing to the cruelty of fate. Perhaps even more than Werther or Childe Harold, René embodies the romantic hero, and is not wholly foreign to the disorientation of youth today. Solitary, mysterious, ardent, and poetic, he is in open revolt against a society whose values he rejects. Withough question this archetype played a large part in determining the course of French literature up to the 1850's.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90481-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
    (pp. 1-14)

    Few books in France have met with the success which greetedAtalain 1801. Within a year of its publication it boasted five French editions, and its success spread rapidly abroad as Spanish, Italian, German, and English translations appeared in quick succession. Overnight Chateaubriand was catapulted from obscurity to the heights of the literary firmament, where he remained for the rest of his life as a star of the first magnitude. It was hardly necessary to read the book to know about Atala, her lover, and Father Aubry; their waxen images stood like little saints in the stalls along the...

  3. Atala
    (pp. 15-82)

    In days gone by, France possessed a vast empire in North America, extending from Labrador to the Floridas*and from the shores of the Atlantic to the most remote lakes of Upper Canada.

    Four great rivers, originating in the same mountains, divide these huge regions: the Saint Lawrence River, which empties in the east into the gulf of the same name; the River of the West, which bears its waters away to unknown seas; the Bourbon River, which plunges northward into Hudson Bay, and the Meschacebe, which flows south into the Gulf of Mexico.

    This last-named river, in its course...

  4. René
    (pp. 83-114)

    On arriving among the Natchez René was obliged to take a wife in order to conform to the Indian customs; but he did not live with her. His melancholy nature drew him constantly away into the depths of the woods. There he would spend en tire days in solitude, a savage among the savages. Aside from Chactas, his foster father, and Father Souël, a missionary at Fort Rosalie, he had given up all fellowship with men. These two elders had acquired a powerful influence over his heart, Chactas, through his kindly indulgence, and Father Souël, on the contrary, through his...

  5. NOTES
    (pp. 115-122)