Synopses & Reviews
"A writer of scintillating style and resonant substance," (Publishers Weekly), bestselling author Francine du Plessix Gray chronicles the incandescent life of the most celebrated woman of letters of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era.
The daughter of the second most important man in France, Louis XVI's Minister of Finances, Jacques Necker, Madame de Staël was born into a world of political and intellectual prominence. Later, she married Sweden's ambassador to the French court, and for a span of twenty years, she held the limelight as a political figure and prolific writer. Despite a plain appearance, she was notoriously seductive and enjoyed whirlwind affairs with some of the most influential men of her time. She always attracted controversy, and was demonized by Napoleon for her forthrightness, the sheer power of her intellect, and the progressiveness of her salon, which was a hotbed for the expression of liberal ideals. The emperor exiled her, on and off, for the last fifteen years of her life.
Madame de Staëlforce of nature, exuberant idealist, and ultimate enthusiastwaged a lifelong struggle against all that was tyrannical, cynical, or passionless in her time, and left Europe a legacy of enlightened liberalism that radiated throughout the continent during the nineteenth century.
"Novelist, philosopher, salonnire and a woman whose political genius was 'worthy of the wiliest D.C. lobbyist': Germaine de Stal (1766 1817) lived many lives during the chaotic years of French history from the Revolution through the machinations of Napoleon. NBCC Award winning author Gray (Them: A Memoir of Parents) chronicles her subject's combination of charisma and historical circumstance, manifest in de Stal's celebrated salons, impassioned literary tracts and iconoclastic personality. More than the quintessential cosmopolitan, de Stal saved lives during the Terror and launched careers. Yet before marrying her inept husband, she said, 'I regret that I have not joined my fate to that of a great man; it is the only possible glory for a woman.' Despite repeated exile from Napoleon's France, de Stal was as linked to the political workings of Parisian society as any of her male contemporaries. Faithful to de Stal's incessant energy, Gray follows her movements at a forceful pace, masterfully commanding a wide cast of characters while streamlining the frantic narrative of her subject's life. The reader trusts Gray completely, but wants more of the peerless de Stal." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Bestselling author du Plessix Gray chronicles the incandescent life of the most celebrated--and one of the most controversial--woman of letters of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era.
About the Author
Francine du Plessix Gray is the author of Them: A Memoir of Parents, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; At Home with the Marquis de Sade, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; and numerous other works, including a biography of Simone Weil in the Penguin Lives series. She lives in Warren, Connecticut.