Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Stael

Herold, J. Christopher

Published by Grove Press
ISBN 10: 0802138373 / ISBN 13: 9780802138378
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Synopsis: J. Christopher Herold vigorously tells the story of the fierce Madame de Stael, revealing her courageous opposition to Napoleon, her whirlwind affairs with the great intellectuals of her day, and her idealistic rebellion against all that was cynical, tyrannical, and passionless. Germaine de Stael's father was Jacques Necker, the finance minister to Louis XVI, and her mother ran an influential literary-political salon in Paris. Always precocious, at nineteen Germaine married the Swedish ambassador to France, Eric Magnus Baron de Stael-Holstein, and in 1785 took over her mother's salon with great success. Germaine and de Stael lived most of their married life apart. She had many brilliant lovers. Talleyrand was the first, Narbonne, the minister of war, another; Benjamin Constant was her most significant and long-lasting one. She published several political and literary essays, including "A Treatise on the Influence of the Passions upon the Happiness of Individuals and of Nations," which became one of the most important documents of European Romanticism. Her bold philosophical ideas, particularly those in "On Literature," caused feverish commotion in France and were quickly noticed by Napoleon, who saw her salon as a rallying point for the opposition. He eventually exiled her from France. This winner of the 1959 National Book Award is "excellent ... detailed, full of color, movement, great names, and lively incident" -- The New York Times "Mr. Herold's full-bodied biography is clear-eyed, intelligent, and written with abundant wit and zest." -- The Atlantic Monthly

From Library Journal: Grove expands its "Great Lives" series with these top-shelf biographies. Arvin's portrait of Melville snagged a National Book Award (NBA) in 1950 and is still a leading title on the sailor turned author. Germaine de Stael vigorously opposed Napoleon and had affairs with the leading intellectuals of her day, all of which are marvelously detailed in Herold's 1958 volume, which also won an NBA. Though not a prize winner, Turnbull's portrait of the short, unhappy life of Scott Fitzgerald was the leading biography of its time (1962) before being bested by Matthew Bruccoli's Some Sort of Epic Grandeur in 1981. All of these volumes are worthy editions to public and academic library collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de ...
Publisher: Grove Press
Binding: PAPERBACK
Book Condition: Very Good

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