Francois La Rochefoucauld

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Francois La Rochefoucauls, Prince de Marcillac is a French author born on September 15, 1613. He had a very definite worldly view of human conduct and was considered the perfect 17th century nobleman. His education consisted of military exercises, court etiquette and knowledge of the world. At 15 he married Andree de Vivonne and almost immediately joined the army.

La Rochefoucauld was prominent in the siege of Paris in 1645, fought in military engagements and was critically wounded at the Siege of Mardyke. He was again wounded in 1652 at the battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. He received an injury to the head and thought to have lost his sight. After being shot, La Rochefoucauls retired to his country estate of Verteuil and wrote his memoirs. His memoirs were later found to be pieced together from the work of at least six other men.

His book the Maximes reveals his reflections on the conduct and motives of man. La Rochefoucauld continued to perfect and alter his ideas and some of these treatises were published after his death. Examples of his Maxims include the claim that self-love is the greatest of all flattery, if man had no faults he would not notice the faults of others, and the truest mark of a man being born with great qualities is to be born without envy and flirtations are fundamental to a woman. Some women do not flirt since they are restrained by fear and good sense. Over one hundred of his letters are said to be of high biographical and literary value.

His most memorable works include his Memoirs which are also combined with other writers of this era, and Maximes that discuss men's nature. Future writers in the same genre refer to La Rouchefoucauld and imitate him in their writings.

La Rouchefoucauld died at the age of 66 on March 17, 1680 in Paris, France. He remained married to Andree de Vivonne and had one child.

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