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Meaning of Chamort


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Chamfort, a French wit and littérateur, born in Auvergne; took to the Revolution, but offended the leaders, and being threatened with arrest committed suicide, "cutting and slashing with frantic, uncertain hand, gaining, not without difficulty, the refuge of death"; he was a born cynic, and was famous for his keen insight into human nature and his sharp criticisms of it, summed up in a collection of maxims he left, as well as for his anecdotes in incisive portraiture of character. "He was a man," says Professor Saintsbury, "soured by his want of birth, health, and position, and spoilt by hanging on to the great persons of his time. But for a kind of tragi-comic satire, a soeva indignatio, taking the form of contempt for all that is exalted and noble, he has no equal in literature except Swift" (1741-1794).
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