Astolphe Louis Leonor, Marquis de Custine, was born in 1790. Both his grandfather and father were executed during the Terror. Raised by his remarkable mother, Custine became a diplomat and attended the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Custine's homosexuality became the subject of a public scandal in 1824 and ended his career. He devoted the rest of his life to travel and literature. In 1839 he made the journey that resulted in his masterpiece, Letters from Russia. Custine died in 1857.
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