La Rochefoucauld, François de

La Rochefoucauld, François de


Born Sept. 15, 1613, in Paris; died there Mar. 17, 1680. Duke; French moraliste and writer.

La Rochefoucauld engaged in court intrigues against Cardinal Richelieu and participated in the Fronde revolts. In his Mémoires (1662; complete edition, 1817), which shed light on events from 1624 to 1652 and were written from his position as a frondeur and aristocrat, La Rochefoucauld opposed absolutism. His main work was Maxims and Moral Reflections (1665; Russian translation, 1959), the philosophical culmination of his observations on the mores of contemporary French society. La Rochefoucauld considered amour propre and egotistical calculation (self-interest) to be mankind’s main motivation. The premise, expressed by T. Hobbes and widespread among many thinkers of the age, acquired originality through La Rochefoucauld’s subtle psychological perception of the conscious and more often unconscious self-deception practiced by French aristocrats to mask their true motives and interests with fictive ethics and ideals. La Rochefoucauld was a master of the epigram.


Oeuvres complètes. [Paris, 1957.]
In Russian translation:
Memuary: Maksimy. Leningrad, 1971.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 449–54.
Linetskaia, E. “F. Laroshfuko.” Pisateli Frantsii. Moscow, 1964.
Razumovskaia, M. V. Laroshfuko, avtor ‘Maksim.’ Leningrad, 1971.
Moore, W. G. La Rochefoucauld. [London] 1969.
Marchand, J. Bibliographie générale raisonnée de la Rochefoucauld. Paris, 1948.