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Madame de StaëlThe Dangerous Exile$
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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

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On Germany

On Germany

(p.125) 4 On Germany
Madame de Staël

Angelica Goodden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Staël's trip to Germany is undertaken under the misapprehension that hearing her celebrated there will arouse Napoleon's jealousy: in fact he will simply be infuriated by her daring to fête an enemy power. All unsuspecting, she throws herself into discovering a new culture, one she had described only at second hand in De la littérature; yet her faith in the planned work as the digest of Romanticism, with herself as evangelist, is tempered by the recurrent feeling that the life of constantly new experiences and encounters she has been forced to adopt is essentially alien to the nature of woman, who needs stability. As usual she makes a virtue of necessity, seeing nearly everyone who matters on the intellectual and literary scene and ‘bagging’ August Wilhelm Schlegel to be her children's tutor and her own further instructor in Romanticism back at Coppet. Though it is typical of her to keep extending her family of supportive males in this way, her seemingly casual appropriation of people as well as ideas in the course of her travels irritates many of those she meets.

Keywords:   Germany, De la littérature, Napoleon, nature of woman, August Wilhelm Schlegel, Romanticism, Coppet

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