Madame de Staël

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12222 ALLEA Madame de Staël Prize

French - Writer April 22 , - July 14 , Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end. Madame de Stael. Love Time Fear Memory. The greatest happiness is to transform one's feelings into action.

Stael and the French Revolution - Online Library of Liberty

Happiness Feelings Action Greatest. Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts. Art Thoughts Your Politeness. Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened.

The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel

Man Power Progress Moral. Innocence in genius, and candor in power, are both noble qualities.

Power Genius Innocence Noble. The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it. Mistake Impossible Easy Voice. Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty. Man Truth Truth Is Search. In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.

Love Heart True Nothing Matters. Wit consists in knowing the resemblance of things that differ, and the difference of things that are alike.


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Things Difference Knowing Wit. Love is the whole history of a woman's life, it is but an episode in a man's. Her parents too, were an anomaly: her Swiss Protestant father, Jacques Necker, rose from unimportant clerk to be Louis XVI's minister of finance, the man whose dismissal prompted the storming of the Bastille. Her mother started as a governess but presided over the most important salons of her age, where aristocrats confronted the new ideas that opened the way to revolution.

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They were a close family: 'All three on their knees in constant adoration of each other,' Napoleon sniped. When the young Germaine saw how much her parents enjoyed the company of William Gibbon, she offered to marry him so they would never be deprived of his conversation.


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  • Portrait of Germaine Necker, Baronne de Staël-Holstein, dite “Madame de Staël” (1766-1817).
  • In fact, Madame Necker hoped William Pitt would be her husband, but Germaine couldn't contemplate life away from her great loves: Paris and Papa. As part of the marriage settlement, he was confirmed as lifetime ambassador to Paris, although his wife was almost certainly the more effective envoy.

    She took to writing long letters to the King of Sweden, reporting on the progress of the reformist ideas that were circulating in her salons, where she promoted the cause of her lover Narbonne the father of her two sons as the rallying point for a constitutional monarchy. From Switzerland, she organised an escape route for others, which saved at least 20 lives. And to put the cherry on top of the cake, she was the richest heiress in France. If she had, she would have been the wife of the youngest Prime Minister in British history.

    He also had a gambling problem which made Necker think twice about having him as a son-in-law. In return, Sweden received several acres of land on St. Germaine was now the Baroness de Stael, and the wife of an ambassador, a much higher position at court and in society than she would have achieved by marrying a Frenchman. However it was Germaine who proved the more effective envoy.

    She wrote long letters to the Gustavus IV of Sweden, reporting on the progress of the reformist ideas that were circulating in her salons. The couple was soon living separate lives. Germaine consoled herself by creating one of the most brilliant salons in Paris. Later on in Switzerland during the terror and her long exiles, she turned the family chateau at Coppet, into an intellectual powerhouse and asylum for those who opposed Napoleon.

    Germaine knew or became good friends with most of the intelligentsia of late 18 th and early 19 th century Europe including Byron, Schiller, Goethe, Chateaubriand, the Duke of Wellington, Fanny Burney until her father forbid her to associate with Germaine and Juliette Recamier one of her closest friends. After the Terror, her salon served as a resort for all the restless politicians of the day and she was once considered a person dangerous to the state. She hosted dinner parties where she invited people with varying opinions and on other days she entertained separately the leaders of the various cliques.

    Germaine became intimate friends with among others Talleyrand, Narbonne, and the Swiss-born politician Benjamin Constant. Constant came closest to being both the intellectual equal as well as the ardent lover that Germaine had searched for her entire life.

    The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel

    She also had a large entourage of admirers, who orbited around her, hoping against hope that they would get the chance to be more than just a friend. Although she was considered plain by some, Germaine clearly had sex appeal. She was also apparently a demanding lover. And he lived with her on and off for seventeen years! Even after he secretly married, he found it hard to tear himself away from Germaine. The two of them forged an intellectual and romantic partnership that was also incredibly co-dependent.

    Frankly Germaine sounds both exhilarating as well as exhausting.