Xavier de Maistre
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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.
WORKSOeuvres 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