Antoine de Rivarol
1753 – 1801
Who was Antoine de Rivarol?
Rivarol was born in Bagnols, Languedoc. It appears that his father, an innkeeper, was a cultivated man. The son assumed the title of comte de Rivarol, asserting a connection with a noble Italian family, but his enemies said his name was really Riverot and that he was not of a noble family. After various vicissitudes, he went to Paris in 1777 and won some academic prizes. In 1784, his Discours sur l'universalité de la langue française and his translation of Dante's Inferno were favourably noted. The year before the French Revolution broke out, he and a certain Champcenetz published a lampoon, titled Petit Almanach de nos grands hommes pour 1788, that ridiculed without pity a number of writers of proven or future talent, along with a great many nobodies.
Rivarol was the foremost journalist, commentator and epigrammatist among that faction of aristocrats which was most uncompromisingly reactionary: he heaped scorn upon republicanism and defended the Ancien Régime.
Rivarol's writing was published in the Journal politique of Antoine Sabatier de Castres and the Actes des Apotres of Jean Gabriel Peltier. He left France in 1792, first settling in Brussels, then moving successively to London, Hamburg, and Berlin, where he died .
- Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future.
- Oblivion is the rule and fame the exception, of humanity.
- Familiarity is the root of the closest friendships, as well as the interests hatreds.
- Speech is external thought, and thought internal speech.
- Ideas are a capital that bears interest only in the hands of talent.
- To lose one's self in reverie, one must be either very happy, or very unhappy. Reverie is the child of extremes.
- Gold like the sun, which melts wax, but hardens clay, expands great souls.
- Memory always obeys the commands of the heart.
- The only thing wealth does for some people is to make them worry about losing it.
- Reason is the historian, but passions are the actors.
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