Maistre, Xavier de

Maistre, Xavier de

(zävyā` də mĕs`trə), 1763–1852, French writer, b. Savoy; brother of Joseph de Maistre. He served in the Russian army and lived most of his life in St. Petersburg. His works are distinguished for their polished wit. Voyage autour de ma chambre [trip around my room] (1794), written when he was in prison for dueling, is a simple peregrination from object to object allowing each to call up recollections. Le Lépreux de la cité d'Aoste [the leper of Aosta] (1811) is a dialogue between a soldier and a leper, notable for its portrayal of Christian resignation. La Jeune Sibérienne [the Siberian girl] is the story of a plea of a Russian girl to the czar for mercy for her father in Siberia.

Maistre, Xavier de

 

Born Nov. 8, 1763, in Chambéry, Savoie; died June 12, 1852, in St. Petersburg. Count; French writer, scientist, artist, and military figure. Brother of J. de Maistre.

De Maistre emigrated to Russia in 1800. There he became an officer in the Russian Army, taking part in wars in the Caucasus and Persia. He later became director and librarian of the Admiralty Museum in St. Petersburg. He was a member of the academies of science of Turin (his works on physics and chemistry appeared in the academy’s annals) and of Savoie.

De Maistre’s first work, A Journey Around My Room (1794; Russian translation, 1802), was distinguished for its direct and lively narrative style. His novellas on Russian themes attracted the attention of C.-A. Sainte-Beuve in France and A. F. Vel’tman and V. I. Dal’ in Russia. His novella The Young Siberian Girl (1815) has become a children’s classic (Russian translation, 1840). De Maistre also translated fables by I. A. Krylov into French. He was well known as a painter of miniatures (including a portrait of N. O. Pushkina, mother of the poet) and landscapes.

WORKS

Oeuvres completes. New edition with a preface by M. Sainte-Beuve. Paris, 1894.

REFERENCES

“Iz materialov Stroganovskoi Akademii: Neopubl. proizv. K. de Mestra i Z. Volkonskoi.” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vols. 33–34. Moscow, 1939.
Sainte-Beuve, C.-A. Portraits contemporains, vol. 3. Paris, 1870.
Berthier, A. X. de Maistre. Lyon, 1921.

M. A. GOL’DMAN

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