César Vichard de Saint-RéalCésar Vichard de Saint-Réal (1639–1692) was a French polyglot.
He was born in Chambéry, Savoy, but educated in Lyon by the Jesuits. He used to work in the royal library with Antoine Varillas. This French historiographer influenced the way Saint-Réal wrote history. He used to be reader and friend of Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin, who took him with her to England (1675).
Saint-Réal was a polygraph writer. His works belong to different genres but he always had an interest in history.
After some minor works written in order to win the protection of Louis XIV, he wrote ''De l'usage de l'histoire'' in 1671. In this essay, he speaks about the good way of writing history and explains that understanding of facts is more important than facts themselves. In 1672, he published ''Dom Carlos'', subtitled "nouvelle historique". It's a short novel or a long short story which relates the love story of a forbidden passion between Dom Carlos, the son of Philip II of Spain, and his father's wife Elisabeth of Valois. Saint-Réal mixes politics and love, but love appears much more important. This novel was a hit with high society. Nowadays French critics see it as an important text in the construction of the French psychological novel. It announces the style of Madame de La Fayette novels. ''Dom Carlos'' was the basis for Friedrich Schiller’s play ''Don Carlos'' (which in turn became the source material for several operatic works, including Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the same name). Saint-Réal’s book was also the basis of the English writer Thomas Otway’s play ''Don Carlos, Prince of Spain''.
But Saint-Réal wanted to be a serious writer and needed to write texts which were not fiction. That's why he published in 1674 la ''Conjuration des Espagnols contre la République de Venise en l'année M. DC. XVIII''. It relates a Spanish conjuration against Venice. The historical work is not serious by modern criteria, but it was regarded by people of the end of the 17th and the 18th centuries as a good example of classical prosis. In ''Le Siècle de Louis XIV'', Voltaire calls Saint-Réal the "French Sallust" because of this work.
The authorship of the duchess's ''Mémoires'' has been ascribed to Saint-Real, but no proof exists. He also wrote a ''Vie de Jésus Christ'' in 1678, a summary of the gospels. He took part in the literary arguments of his time with the short treatise ''De la critique'' (1691), directed against Andry de Boisregard's ''Réflexions sur la langue française''. There were many editions of his''Œuvres complètes'' during the 17th and 19th centuries, some longer than others due to the inclusion of some works falsely attributed to him. Provided by Wikipedia