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Atala / René

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  979 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 pr ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 1st 1952 by University of California Press (first published 1801)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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 ·  979 ratings  ·  57 reviews


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E. G.
--Atala
--René

Notes
Amber Sweat
Jan 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
this book was bad and chateaubriand should feel bad
Bojana ♡
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
*Actual rating would be 2 stars, but I had to add one because of the writing style*

Chateaubriand's pittoresque writing style is filled with a generous dose of sensitivity and is ultimately what makes his works unique. However, that alone couldn't help me get past my lack of interest in the actual storylines. With that being said, I thought that Atala was the stronger contender in this book.
Stefan Stojanovski
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-class
Atala: 2½ stars
René : 2 stars

The only thing this book has going for it, is that it has an amazing writing style.
Quentin Crisp
Sep 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I got to page 36 of this book and decided that I might as well spend time staring at a wall as reading the rest.

The name 'Chateaubriand' has a certain ring to it, and I find it, as it were, intoned with a kind of reverence here and there. Huysmans, one of my favourite writers, is said by one critic to be to Chateaubriand as a toad is to a nightingale. If this book is anything to judge by, I must suppose that critic had cardboard for brains.

This isn't so much in the 'noble savage' genre as the 's
...more
Michael David
Feb 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not averse to religious literature or to Christian literature. In fact, I've read Christian literature for the better part of last year. Despite the fact that Chateaubriand was one of the fathers of romanticism, however, I found his two novellas to be unimpressive. The primary reason was that he bathed words with honeyed excess and obstreperous bathos.

Did the previous sentence irk you?

If it did, then we're on the same boat. I myself, after being berated by my English professor, plugged up
...more
Diane
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written in the early 19th century, these two novels are set in the French colonies of the New World centuries earlier. The story revolves around a Christian indigenous woman who falls in love with a Frenchman, with disastrous consequences. I liked the rich description of the scenery and characters in the book, as well as the window into life in the French colonies at this time.
Charmaine Kambabazi
Okay so this was definitely a lot easier to read in English 😅 I enjoyed and appreciated it a lot more! Very easy read with beautiful poetic language! A rather interesting story on some of the struggles that come with religious beliefs. Made me think what I would do if placed in the characters place.
James Violand
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Unbridled sentimentality. Question: Can you feel a teardrop on your knee while under a tree in a hurricane? Does northern Florida have a mountain range that scrapes the sky? The obvious answers illustrate Chateaubriand’s beyond-the-pale romanticism. Both novellas should be avoided.
Matthew
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Father Souël's denouncement of René's Wertherism was kind of cathartic. If you had to choose between reading René or Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther for your fix of world weariness or sentimentality, I'd go with the German.
Bill Keefe
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Only those of limited vision can hate men and life. Look a little farther and you will be convinced that all those griefs about which you complain are absolutely nothing."
Elise
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I always find these short old stories to be sort of strange. But it was fine.
Lorraine
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
The dominant and relentlessly Catholic perspective robs this of any insights as philosophy.
Pavel
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was hard to swallow. Chateaubriand warns readers in advance: “If I do not affect the heart, I shall raise a smile.” Maiden addressing a prisoner as "poor young idolater" and "young handsome captive". Pagan seeing a priest celebrating mass and crying out: "O the charm of religion! O the magnificence of Christian worship!" Passionate savages, weeping and fainting heroes, noble hermit surrounded in his grotto by supernatural radiance, moonlit cemeteries.
But all this pales in comparison wi
...more
globulon
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, fiction
I prefered 'Atala' to 'Rene' but both were nicely written, at least in the translation I read. I would like to read it in French. While the author is very Catholic, I found it compelling for the most part, presented as a very human religion. The figure of Father Aubry is very compassionate while at the same time advocating a serious attempt to overcome or restrain the "passions". I saw a lot of similarity with Bhuddism in this. I can also see why Chateaubriand is considered an important source o ...more
David Bonesteel
May 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Chateaubriand's two novellas about the comforts of Christianity and tortured souls in conflict with society inspired the early Romantic writers. It was something new under the sun at the time and many contemporaries felt it was a powerful expression of the discontent felt by many. However, time has not been kind and to these modern eyes "Rene" is a nearly unreadable chronicle of moping aristocrats who feel they have plumbed the depths of despair. "Atala" is even worse, adding a heaping dose of c ...more
David B
Nov 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Chateaubriand's two novellas about the comforts of Christianity and tortured souls in conflict with society inspired the early Romantic writers. It was something new under the sun at the time and many contemporaries felt it was a powerful expression of the discontent felt by many. However, time has not been kind and to these modern eyes "Rene" is a nearly unreadable chronicle of moping aristocrats who feel they have plumbed the depths of despair. "Atala" is even worse, adding a heaping dose of c ...more
Bryan
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The case of a writer ignored due to the absurdly rendered wish fulfillment of his own adoption by Native Americans, although he is hardly the first. Chateaubriand's lyrical descriptions of a colonized paradise lost as a Rousseauian state of nature frame a Romantic story about one abandoned colonist's self-understanding. His sister, with whom he is engaged in an incestuous relationship, is sacrificed for his own salvation in a gothic scene more powerful than anything in Hawthorne's tales.
Chet Herbert
René, one of the ultimate Emo books, marks the beginning of the French Romantic movement and is akin to Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Alfred de Musset's La Confession d'un enfant du siècle. Atala is beautiful in its descriptive elegance and, despite Chateaubriand's intentions, to me is an effective critique against rigid and blind allegiance to Christian religiosity.
Ana
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, french-lit
This book is delicious. I actually saw the painting of Atala before I read the book and untill I finished the book completly I hadn't associated both (both of which are masterpieces). The writing of Chateaubriand is so great, so inspiring that it can make one who didn't before, believe in love.

I thought the narrative to be so ingenious, the story of Atala so tragic (to be only compared with the Greeks) and the follow up of Rene a stupendous bonus.

Please do read this one!
Alex
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it
It is good to learn the French literary Romanticism through these works of its father; and also the author seems to know something about America, especially in its flora and fauna, and the native people to a lesser degree. But to me, it is just, well, too romanticist, too artificial. He does not even pretend to have much ground for his creation.
Leah
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
I wasn't really impressed with Chateaubriand in this piece, but I was pretty proud of myself for finishing my first novel in French (even though Reneit is really short. The melodramatic Romanticism was a bit much, and the relationship problem (won't give it away here) was just gross.
Brandy
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Incest and Romanticism
Jakob
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly because he has few equals in the mastery of french (prose) language.
Charles
These are the chestnut texts not just for pre-Romanticism, but also providing access to Romantic mal du siecle and other aspects of the Romantic sensibility.
Bradford
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dreamlike, self-conscious, protracted suffering in the midst of an imagined wilderness, surrounded by noble savages, and visions of a christian socialist utopia.
ems
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: eвропа
i mean i could write few good papers on this bs, but why read it if u don't have to
Clara
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-books
I had to read it for school. Not my thing.
Yasmine Azeez
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
could not finish it , though i enjoyed the descriptions of nature in the book but it was too boring , and too religious !
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François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician and diplomat. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.

He has also been mistakenly given the forename François-Auguste in an 1811 edition, but signed all his worked as just Chateaubriand or M. le vicomte de Chateaubriand.

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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“But instead of this peace which I dared to expect, what anguish has weighed down my days! To become the perpetual plaything of fortune, dashed against every strand, long exiled from my country, and finding on my return only a cabin in ruins and friends the grave -- such was to be the fate of Chactas.” 0 likes
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