By Dennis Wood
`For forty years I have defended the same principle: freedom in everything, in religion, in philosophy, in literature, in industry, in politics - and by freedom I mean the triumph of the individual.' Constant thus summarized his beliefs at the end of his life. A political theorist and a passionate defender of individual liberty, he was also the author of one of the greatest French novels of psychological insight, Adolphe . In a major new biography Dennis Wood traces the development of Constant as a writer centrally preoccupied with the problematics of freedom, not only in the fields of politics and religious belief but also in his own troubled relationship with several women.