Constant de Rebecque, Henri Benjamin

Constant de Rebecque, Henri Benjamin:

see Constant, BenjaminConstant, Benjamin
(Henri Benjamin Constant de Rebecque) , 1767–1830, French-Swiss political writer and novelist, b. Lausanne. His affair (1794–1811) with Germaine de Staël turned him to political interests.
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Constant de Rebecque, Henri Benjamin

 

Born Oct. 25, 1767, in Lausanne; died Dec. 8, 1830, in Paris. French writer, publicist, and political figure.

During the French Revolution, Constant opposed both the royalists and the Jacobins. In 1796 he supported the Directory. From 1799 to 1802 he was a member of the Tribunate. He lived in exile from 1803 to 1814, returning to France in 1814, after the restoration of the Bourbons. However, during the Hundred Days (1815) Napoleon I entrusted him with the task of preparing amendments to the constitution. In 1819, Constant was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. During the July Revolution of 1830 he helped bring Louis Philippe to the throne. In 1830 he was appointed president of the council of state.

Constant’s autobiographical novel, Adolphe (London, 1815; Paris, 1816; Russian translation, 1831, 1932, 1959), brought him fame as a writer and as the creator of a model of the romantic hero, a “child of the epoch.” The novel was highly thought of by A. S. Pushkin, who wrote that “B. Constant was the first to introduce this character.” Constant developed bourgeois liberal ideas in his political works; he considered the ideal in state structure to be a constitutional monarchy along English lines. Liberal tendencies are also evident in his works On Religion (vols. 1–5, 1824–31) and Roman Polytheism (vols. 1–2, published 1833).

WORKS

Oeuvres. Text edited and annotated by A. Roulin. Paris, 1957.

REFERENCES

“Russkaia kul’tura i Frantsiia.” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, 31–32, vol. 2; 33–34, vol. 3. Moscow, 1937–39.
France, A. “B. Konstan—“Adol’f.” Sobr. soch., vol. 8. Moscow, 1960.
Bastid, P. B. Constant et sa doctrine, vols. 1–2. [Paris, 1966.]
Poulet, G. B. Constant par lui-même. Paris, 1968. (Ecrivains de toujours.)

M. A. GOL’DMAN

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