One of the very few women in French literature who enjoyed international recognition from the start, Madame de Staël was born Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, daughter of Jacques Necker, the famous Swiss banker of Geneva who served as minister to King Louis XVI during the last years of the French monarchy. She was initiated into the life of the eighteenth-century Parisian salons by her mother, Suzanne Curchod, who attracted to her home such intellectuals as Marmontel, d'Alembert, Diderot, Grimm, Buffon, and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. In 1786 Germaine Necker married Baron Erik-Magnus de Staël-Holstein, Swedish ambassador to France. The French Revolution forced him to return to Sweden and his wife to emigrate. After a brief stay in London she settled in Switzerland at the château de Coppet, on the banks of Lake Geneva. She divorced her husband in 1798.
She returned to Paris in 1795, where her “subversive” opinions displeased Bonaparte, who forced her into exile. She published an essay, De la littérature considérée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales, in 1800, and a novel, Delphine, in 1802. At Coppet her vast circle of friends included Madame Récamier and Benjamin Constant. She had a long and passionate love affair with the latter that is echoed in his famous novel Adolphe (1816). During the ten-year period of the Consulate and the Empire she traveled throughout Europe. In 1804 she met Goethe in Weimar, and Schiller, and Queen Louise of Prussia received her in Berlin. The same year she visited Italy, which inspired her most famous novel, Corinne, published in 1807. Back in Germany she worked on her remarkable essay De l'Allemagne (1810). After returning to Coppet, she secretly married a young officer, Jean Rocca.
From 1812 to 1813 she traveled through Austria, Russia, Sweden, and England, where she met the future Louis XVIII. After the Restoration in France
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Publication information: Book title: Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Contributors: Alba Amoia - Editor, Bettina L.Knapp - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 383.
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