Friday, August 21, 2009

Madame de Staël

Wonderful article on Madame de Staël by Natalie Bennett at Philobiblon. Here's a tiny excerpt:

Napoleon feared her, the crown heads of Europe courted her, as did the intellectual elite, she was much quoted in her own time and ours, yet Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein – generally known as Madame de Staël, was a figure who had almost disappeared into the mists of history.

I’ve been obliquely bumping into her during my excursions through women’s history for years, but it was only when reading about her friendship with Juliette Récamier , and learning that she’s been the subject of no less than five recent books, led me to finally determine to read more.

I’d love to read all five books, but since that isn’t going to happen, I chose Angelica Goodden The Dangerous Exile, in part because it seemed to focus rather less on the romantic side of de Staël’s life, and if there’s one aspect of her I find rather repulsive, it’s her rather histrionically conducted love life.

That, of course, got her into trouble in her own time – having children to men not your spouse being rather frowned upon.

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