Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Madame de StaëlThe Dangerous Exile$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Angelica Goodden

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238095.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 November 2019

Passions Before Literature

Passions Before Literature

Chapter:
(p.65) 2 Passions Before Literature
Source:
Madame de Staël
Author(s):

Angelica Goodden (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238095.003.0003

Back in Switzerland in the family fiefdom of Coppet, Staël ‘writes out’ the pain of desertion past, present, and future in De l'influence des passions, while continuing to engage in messy and unfulfilling affairs. She returns to Paris with Benjamin Constant, still reflecting on a central message of De l'influence: the inevitable unhappiness of women who depart from the role society has allotted them. Soon, however, she finds herself exiled by the Committee on Public Safety for her ‘unsafe’ political views. (The tendency to argue with conviction a position that her public behaviour calls into question will remain with her throughout her life.) The treatise is greeted with such praise on publication that she is allowed to return to within twenty miles of Paris, where she meets Napoleon and initially hero-worships him. Continuing to shuttle disconsolately between Coppet and France, she somehow manages to bring to fruition the hugely ambitious and influential De la littérature, whose boldness does not endear her to Bonaparte. This work both denies that women have written any important works of literature and develops the thesis that melancholy produces the greatest art, but ironically is published at precisely the time Napoleon is taking measures against women, and hence against the kind of hope De la littérature might inspire in their sex. Besides, it trumpets the distinctness of national identities he is seeking to crush.

Keywords:   Coppet, Benjamin Constant, status of women, Committee on Public Safety, exile, political activism, Napoleon, national identity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .