Excerpt from Madame De Stael and Her Lovers
The Life of Madame de Staël has been written a good many times. The earlier biographies - up to and including the ambitious work by Dr. Stevens - are inadequate, owing to the scantiness of the material then available. They give a somewhat uncritical relation of Madame de Stael's public life, but leave her personal life wrapped in mystery, without even suggesting that there are secrets unrevealed. Lady Blennerhassett's book, written in German, and translated into both French and English, is much better from every point of view. At the time of its appearance Benjamin Constant's Journal Intime had just been published in the Revue Internationale. That extraordinary document threw quite a fresh light upon Madame de Stael's character. It showed her as the exigent mistress, clinging to a reluctant lover, and refusing to let him go. Lady Blennerhassett quoted a good deal from it. Hers is consequently the first Life in which Madame de Stael appears as a woman with a passionate heart and not as a philosopher in petticoats.
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