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Anne-Louise-Germaine de Staël-Holstein


  1. Lettres sur les ouvrages et le caractère de J.J. Rousseau has translation author uncertainty publisher


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The daugher of salonnière Suzanne Necker (née Churchod) and Swiss banker (and French minister) Jacques Necker, Germaine de Staël was a writer whose extensive European networks included many revolutionary (and counter-revolutionary) actors. From her mother's salon, she inherited an extensive acquiantance with multiple prominent, internantional intellectuals and politicians of the late enlightenment, and she herself would assume the role as one of the more significant salonnières in the period. Her marriage to the Swedish ambassador, Staël-Holstien, afforded her a measure of security after her parents' exile in the early 1790s, and she held a celebrated -- and rather catholic -- salon from the embassy building. Her views in favour of constitutional monarchy, however, led to her exile, across Europe but most prominently in Germany, where she was, most significantly, acquainted by the Schlegel brothers with the growing discourses of Romanticism -- a term in whose promulgation across France (and Europe) de Staël was instrumental. She spent extensive periods in Coppet, Switzerland, where she again held an intellectual salon and gathering, in Italy, as well as among French exiles in Surrey. Although associated with Talleyrand (an early lover), she became one of Napoléon's enemies, again exiled in 1802 until the restoration -- and her death, in 1817. Her multiple liaisons and political / intellectual relationships included a long partnership with Benjamin Constant. On the fringes of moderate and radical circles and commitments, de Staël remains nonetheless -- due not least to her social networks -- a significant actor in their revolutionary and post-revolutionary rationalisation.