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Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims   By: (1613-1680)

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Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims by François duc de La Rochefoucauld is a timeless masterpiece that delves deep into the human psyche, providing concise and profound insights into the complex nature of human behavior. With its unique blend of wit, wisdom, and astute observation, this book offers a thought-provoking exploration of the intricacies of human nature that is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in the 17th century.

Throughout the book, La Rochefoucauld presents a series of remarkable reflections and moral maxims, each capturing a different facet of human behavior and motivation. Drawing from his own experiences as a French nobleman and courtier, the author examines various aspects of human interaction, from love and friendship to power and ambition. He dissects the universal themes of vanity, self-interest, and hypocrisy, shedding light on the hidden motivations that often drive human actions.

One of the notable strengths of this book is La Rochefoucauld's ability to condense profound wisdom into concise sentences. Each maxim is meticulously crafted, capturing the essence of a particular human trait or behavior with astonishing clarity. The brevity of these reflections adds to their impact, allowing readers to ponder their implications and apply them to their own lives.

Furthermore, La Rochefoucauld's writing style is elegant and refined, displaying a mastery of language that makes each sentence a delight to read. His prose is both eloquent and incisive, drawing readers into a world where every observation holds valuable lessons about human nature. Every word in this book seems purposeful, contributing to a rich tapestry of psychological insight.

Another notable aspect of Reflections is its timelessness. Although the book was written centuries ago, the truths it uncovers about human behavior are still as applicable today as they were during La Rochefoucauld's time. The universality of these insights is a testament to the author's keen understanding of the human condition, making this book a captivating read for contemporary audiences.

However, it is worth noting that some readers may find the content of this book somewhat cynical. La Rochefoucauld's sharp observations often highlight the darker aspects of human nature, and his exploration of human motives can be unflattering at times. Nevertheless, these thought-provoking reflections compel readers to examine their own behavior and motivations honestly, challenging us to strive for self-improvement and a better understanding of ourselves and others.

In conclusion, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims by François duc de La Rochefoucauld is an extraordinary work of philosophical literature. Its penetrating observations on human behavior, combined with its elegant prose and timeless wisdom, make it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to unravel the complexities of human nature. This book stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of La Rochefoucauld's insights and remains an indispensable read for those interested in self-reflection and the intricacies of the human psyche.

First Page:


By Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marsillac

Translated from the Editions of 1678 and 1827 with introduction, notes, and some account of the author and his times.

By J. W. Willis Bund, M.A. LL.B and J. Hain Friswell

Simpson Low, Son, and Marston, 188, Fleet Street.


{TRANSCRIBERS NOTES: spelling variants are preserved (e.g. labour instead of labor, criticise instead of criticize, etc.); the translators' comments are in square brackets [...] as they are in the text; footnotes are indicated by and appear immediately following the passage containing the note (in the text they appear at the bottom of the page); and, finally, corrections and addenda are in curly brackets {...}.}


"As Rochefoucauld his maxims drew From Nature I believe them true. They argue no corrupted mind In him; the fault is in mankind." Swift.

"Les Maximes de la Rochefoucauld sont des proverbs des gens d'esprit." Montesquieu.

"Maxims are the condensed good sense of nations." Sir J. Mackintosh.

"Translators should not work alone; for good Et Propria Verba do not always occur to one mind." Luther's Table Talk, iii.


Preface (translator's) Introduction (translator's) Reflections and Moral Maxims First Supplement Second Supplement Third Supplement Reflections on Various Subjects Index

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