The Genius of Christianity, five-volume treatise by François-Auguste-René Chateaubriand, published in French as Le Génie du christianisme, ou beautés de la. The Spirit and Beauty of the Christian Religion. (Selections from Chateaubriand’s Genius Of Christianity). Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. François-René de Chateaubriand (–) was the Frenchman most influential in the romanticizing of Catholicism. His Génie du Christianisme( published in.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Charles Ignatius White Translator. This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages.
The Genius of Christianity | work by Chateaubriand |
Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.
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As you may know, I read mostly 19th century authors, in French, and The Genius of Christianity is several times mentioned by them. So I decided I had to read it, especially since I had already read and liked its author. It was first published in France inafter Chateaubriand had taken advantage of the amnesty Napoleon is As you may know, I read mostly 19th century authors, in French, and The Genius of Christianity is several times mentioned by them.
In The Genius of Christianity, Chateaubriand defends the wisdom and beauty of Christianity against the attacks on it by French Enlightenment philosophers and revolutionary politicians. The book had an immense influence on 19th century culture and not just on religious life. In fact, it might be said its greatest impact was on art and literature: Some pages are absolutely beautiful and inspiring.
Even though Chateaubriand’s thoughts about women are really old minded for example, but the genius remains Chateaubriand himself.
François-René de Chateaubriand
Here’s an excerpt, it’s long, but the book is HUGE! The color of the waters resembled that of liquid glass. A great swell was visible from the west, though the wind blew from the east, while immense un dulations extended from the north to the south, opening in their valleys long vistas through the deserts of the deep.
The fleeting scenes changed with every minute. Sometimes a multitude of verdant hillocks appeared to us like a series of graves in some vast cemetery. Sometimes the curling summits of the waves resembled white flocks scattered over a heath.
Now space seemed circumscribed for want of an object of comparison; but if a billow reared its mountain crest, if a wave curved like a distant shore, or a squadron of sea-dogs moved along the horizon, the vastness of space again suddenly opened before us. We were most power fully impressed with an idea of magnitude, when a light fog, creeping along the surface of the deep, seemed to increase immensity itself.
Into what reveries does it plunge you, whether imagination transports you to the seas of the north, into the midst of frosts and tempests, or wafts you to southern islands, blessed with happiness and peace!
We often rose at midnight and sat down upon deck, where we found only the officer of the watch and a few sailors silently smoking their pipes. No noise was heard, save the dashing of the prow through the billows, while sparks of fire ran with a white foam along the sides of the vessel.
Millions of stars sparkling in the azure of the celestial dome the moon in the midst of the firmament a sea unbounded by any shore infinitude in the skies and on the waves proclaim with most impressive effect the power of thy arm! Never didthy greatness strike me with profounder awe than in those nights, when, suspended between the stars and the ocean, I had immensity over my head and immensity beneath my feet! I am nothing; I am only a simple, solitary wanderer, and often have I heard men of science disputing on the subject of a Supreme Being, without understanding them ; but I have invariably remarked, that it is in the prospect of the sublime scenes of nature that this unknown Being manifests himself to the human heart.
One evening, after we had reached the beautiful waters that bathe the shores of Virginia, there was a profound calm, and every sail was furled. I was engaged below, when I heard the bell that summoned the crew to prayers. I hastened to mingle my supplications with those of my travelling companions. The officers of the ship were on the quarter-deck with the passengers, while the chaplain, with a book in his hand, was stationed at a little distance before them ; the seamen were scattered at random over the poop; we were all standing, our faces toward the prow of the vessel, which was turned to the west.
The solar orb, about to sink beneath the waves, was seen through the rigging, in the midst of boundless space ; and, from the motion of the stern, it appeared as if it changed its horizon every moment. A few clouds wandered confusedly in the east, where the moon was slowly rising. The rest of the sky was serene; and toward the north, a water-spout, forming a glorious triangle with the luminaries of day and night, and glistening with all the colors of the prism, rose from the sea, like a column of crystal supporting the vault of heaven.
He had been well deserving of pity who would not have recognised in this prospect the beauty of God. When my companions, doffing their tarpaulin hats, entoned with hoarse voice their simple hymn to Our Lady of Good Help, the patroness of the seas, the tears flowed from my eyes in spite of myself. How affecting was the prayer of those men, who, from a frail plank in the midst of the ocean, contemplated the sun setting behind the waves!
How the appeal of the poor sailor to the Mother Sorrows went to the heart! The consciousness of our insignificance in the presence of the Infinite, our hymns, resounding to a distance over the silent waves, the night approaching with its dangers, our vessel, itself a wonder among so many wonders, a religious crew, penetrated with admiration and tfith awe, a venerable priest in prayer, the Almighty bending over the abyss, with one hand staying the sun in the west, with the other raising the moon in the east, and lending through all immensity, an attentive ear to the feeble voice of his creatures, all this constituted a scene which no power of art can represent, and which it is scarcely possible for the heart of man to feel.
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He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.