Painting of Jean de la Bruyère wearing a red cape.

Jean de La Bruyère

(1645 - 1696)

Jean de La Bruyère is best known for his book The Characters, or the Manners of the Age. Its primary aim: “Detecting the fallacy and ridicule to be found in the objects of human passions and inclinations, and in demolishing such obstacles as at first weaken, and afterward extinguish, any knowledge of God in mankind.” He also wrote in the preface, “The subject matter of this work being borrowed from the public, I now give back to it what it lent me; it is but right that having finished the whole work throughout with the utmost regard to truth I am capable of, and which it deserves from me, I should make restitution of it.” The cast of characters increased from 420 in the 1688 edition to 1,120 in the 1694 edition, which appeared two years before La Bruyère died at the age of fifty.

All Writing

Voices In Time

1688 | Paris

Complex Mirror

For better or for worse, a portrait reflects its time. More

We must confess that at present the rich predominate, but the future will be for the virtuous and ingenious.

—Jean de La Bruyère, 1688

Voices In Time

1688 | France

Little Monsters

Idleness, indolence, and laziness, vices so natural to children, disappear as soon as they begin to play.More

Most men employ the first years of their life in making the last miserable.

—Jean de La Bruyère, 1688

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.

—Jean de La Bruyère, 1688

Voices In Time

1688 | France

Character Study

A man of sense should learn to jest gracefully and to not be obscene.More

Issues Contributed