The works of Chenedolle were edited in 1864 by Sainte-Beuve, who drew portraits of him in his Chateaubriand et son groupe and in an article contributed to the Revue des deux mondes (June 1849).
On his return to France he studied at the ecole centrale des travaux publics, and his social education was accomplished in the salon of Pauline de Beaumont, the friend of Chateaubriand and Joubert.
The Romantic movement helped, with its idealization of a past but vaguely realized and imperfectly understood, and Chateaubriand heralded in the Catholic reaction with his Genie du Christianisme (1801) a brilliant if superficial attack on the encyclopaedists and their neo-Paganism, and a glorification of the Christian Church as supreme not only in the regions of faith and morals, but also in those of intellect and art.
He devoted himself to an examination of the nature of society and his work brought him into connexion with the literary circle of Chateaubriand and Madame Recamier.
The work was completed in August 1843, the five years' labour having been broken by the composition of reviews of Lockhart's Life of Scott (1838), Kenyon's Poems (1839), Chateaubriand (1839), Bancroft's United States (1841), Mariotti's Italy (1842), and Madame Calderon's Life in Mexico (1843), and by the preparation of an abridgment of his Ferdinand and Isabella in anticipation of its threatened abridgment by another hand.
Unfortunately, however, the brilliant epoch of the alliance of Liberalism and Catholicism, represented on its literary side by Chateaubriand and by Lamartine, to whose poetic school Herculano had belonged, was past, and fanatical attacks and the progress of events drove this former champion of the Church into conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities.
He availed himself of the reviving interest in legitimism and Catholicism which was represented by Bonald and Joseph de Maistre, of the nature worship of Rousseau and Bernardin de Saint Pierre, of the sentimentalism of Madame de Stael, of the medievalism and the romance of Chateaubriand and Scott, of the maladie du siecle of Chateaubriand and Byron.
On his return to Paris in 1799 he met Chateaubriand and his sister Lucile (Mme de Caud), to whom he became deeply attached.
After the death of Francis I., his successor, Henry II., set himself even more strenuously to .extirpate heresy; a special branch of the parlement of Paris - the so-called Chambre ardente - for the trial of heresy cases party was established, and the fierce edict of Chateaubriand (June 1551) explicitly adopted many of the expedients of the papal inquisition.
She has all the abandon of an Italian improvisatore, the simplicity of a Bernardin de St Pierre without his mawkishness, the sentimentality of a Rousseau without his egotism, the rhythmic eloquence of a Chateaubriand without his grandiloquence.