François de La Rochefoucauld: Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims] (2800 words)

Jiani Fan (Princeton University)
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Written by French author François de la Rochefoucauld, the Maximes presents aphorisms that unmask the heart of darkness behind seemingly altruistic human motives, rather than providing rules of conduct for court society and salons. La Rochefoucauld composed the Maximes in the aftermath of the Fronde, a series of civil wars in France fought between 1648 and 1653. Like many an aristocrat brought low by Louis XIV in this period, La Rochefoucauld deemed this episode as one of the most apocalyptic moments both in his own personal life and for French aristocratic society. Despite bearing the marks of its time, La Rochefoucauld’s work has also had far-reaching influence for later philosophers and writers: …

Citation: Fan, Jiani. "Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 June 2020 [, accessed 16 June 2021.]

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