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Collected Maxims and Other Reflections (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 15, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199540006 ISBN-10: 0199540004

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540006
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This superb publication of La Rouchefoucauld's seminal 'Maxims' combines the erudition and comprehensiveness of a scholarly edition with the welcoming accessibility of a first-class textbook. Kevin De Ornellas, University of Ulster

About the Author

E.H. Blackmore, Freelance writer and translator. A.M. Blackmore, Freelance writer and translator.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Lysaker on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The editors/translators have given us a first rate edition of a remarkable text for an unbelievable price. This reads like a critical edition. The editors have gone back to original editions, compared them, and made judicious selections on that basis, producing the most complete edition of these maxims in English. The translation is a strong one and not intrusive in any way. One may prefer another, I suppose, but I found little lacking. I also found the Introduction very helpful and the notes useful although optional, which allows a reader to proceed in as scholarly a manner as s/he sees fit. Rochefoucaud's wit and insight are leading examples of aphoristic thought. He is a brilliant moral psychologist and an elegant and economical stylist. Aspects of his thought remain dated, of course, e.g. his remarks on women and his obliviousness to class privilege, but the text offers so much more than those failings that it fully deserves the label "World Classic."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Hamilton on March 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body." That's one of La Rochefoucauld's maxims. He's a contentious writer, at least in academic circles, mostly because proper scholars dislike him, yet students love him. It's bizarre. I had a professor who said La Rochefoucauld's maxims are "simple and offensive." Some might be, such as "We sometimes think we hate flattery, but what we hate is merely the way it is done." Yet others, "We forgive as long as we love," are insightful, though perhaps painful to reflect on.

The difficulty in reflection is at the heart of why professors dislike him. La Rochefoucauld was a prince in mid 1600s France. He was wealthy and had time to think and write, and what he came up with is a collection of maxims and essays. How much could this guy know about people, scholars ask, to let him use the word "we"? He wasn't collecting data, he wasn't interviewing people. Who is he to say "we"? The conclusion: La Rochefoucauld wrote about himself. That, to scholars, is the death knell of a writer. Literature is supposed to be constructed art, not self exploration.

"We" can be jarring, that's for sure, because the reader has to stop and ask, Is this true for me? The answer might be no. The answer might be yes. Or the question might be draining to answer. It can be hard to accept "We forgive as long as we love." If that's true, why do people end relationships over infidelity? Is the love gone? Does that mean there is no forgiveness? But Christians always forgive. The word "we" causes problems for conscientious readers, because it's direct and personal and accusatory, and demands introspection.

But take it for what it is.
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Review of "Collected Maxims and Other Reflections" by La Rochefoucuald (translated with an introduction and notes by E.H. and A.M. Blackmore and Francine Giguere). Francois de La Rochefoucauld was a member of a prominent French aristocratic family born in Paris in 1613. He participated in military life and supported the interests of the French aristocracy. His Collected Maxims were revised and the authorized version appeared in 1678. La Rochefoucauld died in Paris in 1680. Many further maxims and essays (now known as the "Miscellaneous Reflections") were published posthumously from his manuscripts. This Oxford World's Classics edition of Collected Maxims provides the fullest collection of his writings and the first complete translation of the "Miscellaneous Reflections." In addition the text includes an in-depth introduction, text notes, bibliography chronology, explanatory notes, and an index of topics. La Rochefoucauld's themes visited within his Maxims are self-love, vice and virtue, love and jealousy, friendship and self-interest, and passion and pride (among others). Collected Maxims provides a window into the thought of 17th Century French Court as relevant today as when initially penned. Five stars without hesitation!
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