|About the Book|
This is the first-ever French-English edition of La Rochefoucaulds Reflexions, ou sentences et maximes morales, long known in English simply as the Maxims. The translation, the first to appear in forty years, is completely new and aims -- unlike allMoreThis is the first-ever French-English edition of La Rochefoucaulds Reflexions, ou sentences et maximes morales, long known in English simply as the Maxims. The translation, the first to appear in forty years, is completely new and aims -- unlike all previous versions -- at being as literal as possible. This involves, among other things, rendering the same word -- for example, amour-propre as self-love -- as consistently throughout as good sense allows. This also means that the translators have made every effort to maintain La Rochefoucaulds word order. This allows the reader the best vantage point for viewing La Rochefoucaulds dramatic and paradoxical juxtapositions of words and ideas, juxtapositions of the utmost importance to understanding his thought. Despite the translations concern with literalness, careful attention has been paid to the nuances of the literary character of the Maxims.In addition, this work contains a series of detailed indices that will greatly aid the reader in finding just the right maxim. Also included is the original French index of the work.At the heart of La Rochefoucaulds Maxims lies the attempt to disclose the great disparity between the exaggerated self-estimation of men and women and their actual condition. As La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) unremittingly unmasks various pretenses, he elaborately exposes the complexity of motives which underlie and inform human conduct: whereas many endeavor to reveal a unity in plurality, La Rochefoucauld endeavors to reveal a plurality in unity. Playful, yet serious, humorous, ironic, yet direct, poetic, yet philosophical, the Maxims penetrate to themes at the center of reflection and judgment about the humansituation. Worthy of study at any time, the Maxims are especially relevant in the strange times in which we live.This edition includes the 504 maxims of the definitive, fifth edition of 1678, along with 137 other maxims which were either withdrawn from earlier editions or published posthumously. In addition to the maxims, La Rochefoucaulds self-portrait and Cardinal de Retzs portrait of La Rochefoucauld are also included.