François Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680)
French classical author. His Maximes (1665, fifth enlarged edition 1678) are terse, highly polished observations on human nature, which undermine the concept of disinterested virtue and the power of the will depicted by Corneille in his plays. La Rochefoucauld substitutes a pessimistic picture of man in which subconscious self-love lies behind every action. His views reflect the changing moral climate of the later 17th century, also seen in the work of Mme de La Fayette.