Sunday, January 24, 2021
I am just coming to the end of work on my Combourg guide, tracing the history of this arresting chateau, which has come to be more of a personage than an edifice to me. The intricate association with Chateaubriand, the Father of Romanticism, who forged his writer's personality here as an adolescent, has ensured the lasting reputation of the castle, but in a way this distracts from its long evolution. From many indulgent accounts, one would almost think that he had created the character and atmosphere of the site rather than the other way round. I had only a brief acquaintance with the great author before getting to know Combourg, and despite a lot of intensive study subsequently, he has made a decidedly lesser impression on me than the austere chateau and its verdant setting. This is yet another example of the spirit of place trumping the spasmodic splash of history.