“Avoid lawsuits beyond all things; they pervert your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property.” – Jean de la Bruyère
#MondayQuotes: “Avoid lawsuits beyond all things; they pervert your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property.”- Jean de la Bruyère
About Jean de la Bruyère
Jean de la Bruyère, a French philosopher and moralist, noted for his satire, was born in Paris on 16 August 1645, in today’s Essonne département.
His family was middle class, and his reference to a certain “Geoffroy de La Bruyère”, a crusader, is only a satirical illustration of a method of self-ennoblement then common in France, as in some other countries. Indeed, he always signed his surname as Delabruyère in one word, as evidence of this disdain.
La Bruyère could trace his family back on his father’s side at least as far as his great-grandfather, who along with his grandfather had been dedicated members of the Catholic League. His great-grandfather had been exiled from France when Henri IV came to the throne and Catholics fell into disfavor.
La Bruyère’s father also had been active in the league under the Duke of Guise in 1584. His father was controller general of finance to the Hôtel de Ville, and despite the turmoil in the country, was able to pay for La Bruyère’s education and to leave him a considerable sum as an inheritance.
He was educated by the Oratorians and at the University of Orléans. He was called to the bar, and in 1673 bought a post in the revenue department at Caen, which gave him status and an income. His predecessor in the post was a relation of Jacques Benigne Bossuet, and it is thought that the transaction of the change was the cause of La Bruyère’s introduction to the great orator, Bossuet, who, from the date of his own preceptorship of the Dauphin, was a kind of agent-general for tutorships in the royal family, and, in 1684, introduced La Bruyère to the household of Louis, Prince of Condé (1621–1686).
La Bruyère became tutor to the prince’s grandson, Louis, as well as to the prince’s child-bride, Mlle de Nantes, a natural child of Louis XIV. The rest of his life was passed in the household of the prince or else at court, and he seems to have profited by the inclination that the entire Condé family had for the society of men of letters.
Very little is known of the events of this part—or, indeed, of any part—of his life. The impression derived from the few notices of him is of a silent, observant, but somewhat awkward man, resembling in manners Joseph Addison, whose master in literature La Bruyère undoubtedly was.
His critical book, Caractères appeared in 1688. It garnered numerous enemies, but despite that, most notations about him are favourable—notably that of Saint-Simon, an acute judge and one bitterly prejudiced against commoners generally. A curious passage in a letter by Boileau to Racine exists, however, in which the writer regrets that “nature has not made La Bruyère as agreeable as he would like to be.”
La Bruyère died on 11 May 1696.
Biography and Photography sources: Wikipedia