A man who does not trust himself will never really trust anybody.
Cardinal de Retz QuotesShowing all quotes
|Birth:||29th September, 1613|
|Death:||24th August, 1669|
Jean-François de Gondi was born in Montmirail, in the Brie region of northern France. He was tutored by St. Vincent de Paul and educated at the Sorbonne. When he was eighteen, he wrote Conjuration de Fiesque, a little historical essay, influenced by the Italian of Agostino Mascardi, and audaciously insinuating revolutionary principles.
In 1652, he was arrested and imprisoned, first at Vincennes, then at Nantes; he escaped after two years, and traveled through Europe. He went to Rome more than once, and helped elect of Pope Alexander VII. In 1662, Louis XIV received him back into favor, and asked him to formally serve as envoy to Rome several times. In order for this reconciliation to occur, he resigned his claims to the archbishopric of Paris. He was appointed abbot of St-Denis, and restored to his other benefices with the payment of arrears.
During the last ten years of his life, Retz wrote his Memoirs, which go up to the year 1655. They are addressed in the form of narrative to a lady who is not known, though guesses have been made at her identity, some even suggesting Madame de Sévigné herself. In the beginning there are some gaps. They are known for their narrative skill and the verbal portraits of their characters. Alexandre Dumas, père drew heavily on the Memoirs for Vingt ans après. Besides these memoirs and the youthful essay of the Conjuration de Fiesque, Retz has left diplomatic papers, sermons, Mazarinades and correspondence.
Retz and François de La Rochefoucauld, the greatest of the Frondeurs in literary genius, were personal and political enemies, and each left a portrait of the other. De la Rochefoucauld wrote of Retz: "Il a suscité les plus grands désordres dans l'état sans avoir un dessein formé de s'en prévaloir."
The Memoirs of the cardinal de Retz were first published in a very imperfect condition in 1717. The first satisfactory edition appeared in the twenty-fourth volume of the collection of Joseph François Michaud and Jean Joseph François Poujoulat (Paris, 1836). In 1870 a complete edition of the works of Retz was begun by Alphonse Feillet in the collection of Grands Ecrivains.
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