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RealpoetikEuropean Romanticism and Literary Politics$
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Paul Hamilton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686179.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

The Exiles of Madame de Staël

The Exiles of Madame de Staël

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 The Exiles of Madame de Staël
Source:
Realpoetik
Author(s):

Paul Hamilton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686179.003.0003

This chapter maintains that Staël turns her exile by and then flight from Napoleon into something positive, a new map of Europe rather than a banishment to its margins. Her writings are presented as part of a shared effort to imagine a counter-image of Europe in readiness for the disintegration of the Napoleonic imperium. The chapter also aargues that the fact that Staël is often valued as ‘someone who has the brilliance but not the talent to write’ (Ellen Moers), comes from thinking about her writings in the wrong aesthetic terms, preconceptions that fail to see that the aesthetic impulse of her ‘enthusiasm’ is detectable in works not explicitly aesthetic. The title of her novel, ‘Corinne ou l’Italie’ is taken as a paradigmatic encouragement to her reader to make the crossovers her thought demands. Then her literature can be shown to have had its real effect by becoming a further figure of itself in another discourse. This Realpoetik is the source of her otherwise puzzling brilliance. Staël is shown to advocate not a literary absolute but an absolute played out in the transformations of the aesthetic into all sorts of other thinking, political, religious, and so on.

Keywords:   exile, Europe, enthusiasm, mobility, nation, France, Italy, Germany

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