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Marie-Joseph Chénier

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"I pray you do not recall my brother's writings in the Journal de Paris, coming as they did from an intemperate poet's heart. Rather I beg you, if my own humble skills have been even the smallest of aid to our glorious Revolution, spare my brother. In his writings I see burgeoning of France's greatest poet, a light that will shine for all time."
―Marie-Joseph Chénier in his letter to Robespierre, 1794.[src]

Marie-Joseph Blaise de Chénier (11 February 1764 – 10 January 1811) was a French poet, dramatist and politician of Greek descent, as well as the brother of fellow poet André Chénier.

In 1794, André was sentenced to death after opposing Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre through his poems. Around June of that year, Marie-Joseph wrote a letter to Robespierre in an attempt to save his brother. In it, he wrote that André had been arrested and imprisoned without a warrant, and that his poems in the Journal de Paris came from an "intemperate poet's heart". Naming his brother the greatest poet of France, he pleaded with Robespierre to spare him.

Despite Marie-Joseph's letter, Robespierre was unmoved. On 25 July, André was guillotined.


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