... de Staël's own life, for all its social and moneyed privilege, all its Romantic razzamatazz, has deep tragic elements of frustration and brooding loss. Much of this is prophesied in her earlier and now little-read novel Delphine (1802), whose heroine does indeed commit suicide. Far too long to appeal to modern readers, it nevertheless contains many haunting self-contained fragments, such as the five-page tale subtitled "The Reasons Why Léontine de Ternan Decided to Become a Nun." This opens:I was once a very beautiful woman, and I am now fifty years old. These two absolutely ordinary facts have been the cause of everything I have ever felt in life.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Quite a lady ...
... Richard Holmes on The Great de Staël. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)