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Chateaubriand on the Degeneration of Aristocracy

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Aristocracy has three successive ages: the age of superiority, the age of privilege, and the age of vanity; on departing the first, it degenerates in the second, and expires in the last.

François-René de Chateaubriand, Mémoires d’Outre-tombe (1848) bk I, ch 1: Vallée-aux-Loups, vol. 1, p. 7 (Pléiade ed.) (S.H. transl.)

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