Larochefoucauld, Francois, Duc De

Larochefoucauld, Francois, Duc De, a noted French philosophical writer, the descendant of an old French family of great celebrity, was born in 1613. He early enjoyed the favor and confidence of the court, but involved himself in intrigues against cardinal Richeleu, and in the tumults of the Fronde, and was obliged to retire into private life. Ever attached to literary pursuits, he cultivated the society of the most eminent literary persons of his time, Boileau, Racine, and Moliere, and composed his famous Memoires (Cologne, 1662; Amsterdam, 1723, etc.), in which he gives a simple but masterly historic account of the political events of his time. In 1665 he published Refexions ou Sentences et Maximes Morales, a work containing 360 detached thoughts, of which, perhaps, the most widely celebrated is his definition of hypocrisy, as "the homage which vice renders to virtue." The book is regarded as a model of French prose, and exhibits much acuteness of observation, and a clear perception of the prevalent corruption and hypocrisy of his time. Larochefoucauld died March 17, 1680. His (Euvres Completes were edited by Depping (Par. 1818), and his writings have been commented on by a host of critics of the most different schools, as Voltaire, Vinet, Sainte- Beuve, and Victor Cousin. See Suard, Notice sur La Rochefoeucauld; SainteBeuve, Estudes sur La Rochefoucauld, in his Portraits des Femmes; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 29:634 sq.

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