François-René de Chateaubriand

1768 (Saint-Malo, France) – 1848 (Paris)

Chateaubriand’s romances and poetry kick-started French literary romanticism. As a young writer he met Chenier and befriended Joubert, whose collected aphorisms he later published. He witnessed Dumas’ wedding, was friends with Rossini, and supportive of Lamartine. He dined with his neighbour Arago, disillusioned political comrades, and befriended Sainte-Beuve, who wrote about him, and attended private readings the old man gave of his memoirs. Hugo, who had revered him from youth, became a lifelong friend and correspondent, and wrote touchingly of his last years, visiting the paralysed poet on his deathbed.