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Laughter is one of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species.

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Jul 29, 2021

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About Joseph Joubert

Joseph Joubert

Joseph Joubert

Joseph Joubert (born May 7, 1754 in Montignac, Périgord and died May 4, 1824 in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne) was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées published posthumously.

From age 14 Joubert attended a religious college in Toulouse, where he later taught until 1776. In 1778 he went to Paris where he met D'Alembert and Diderot, among others, and later became friends with young writer and diplomat Chateaubriand.

He alternated between living in Paris with his friends and life in the privacy of the countryside in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. He was appointed inspector-general of the University under Napoleon.

Joubert published nothing during his lifetime, but he wrote a copious amount of letters and filled sheets of paper and small notebooks with thoughts about the nature of human existence, literature and other topics, in a poignant, often aphoristic style. After his death his widow entrusted Chateaubriand with these notes, and in 1838, he published a selection titled Recueil des pensées de M. Joubert (Collected Thoughts of Mr. Joubert). More complete editions were to follow, also of Joubert's correspondence.

Somewhat of the Epicurean school of philosophy, Joubert enjoyed even his own suffering as he believed sickness gave subtlety to the soul.

Joubert's works have been translated into numerous languages, into English by Paul Auster, among others.

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