François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who had a notable influence on French literature of the nineteenth century. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when large numbers of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, published posthumously in 1849–1850.
Historian Peter Gay says that Chateaubriand saw himself as the greatest lover, the greatest writer, and the greatest philosopher of his age. Gay states that Chateaubriand "dominated the literary scene in France in the first half of the nineteenth century".