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Gifts When You Least Expect Them
I’ve heard people say that God is the gift of desperation,
and there’s a lot to be said for having really reached a bottom
where you’ve run out of any more good ideas or plans
for everybody else’s behavior; or how to save and fix and rescue;
or just get out of a huge mess, possibly of your own creation.
MADAME ANNE LOUISE GERMAINE DE STAËL Napoleonic nemesis
You know you have really been banned when the self-appointed ruler of the world exiles you! Germaine de Staël was a noblewoman of French-Swiss descent who took full advantage of the educational opportunities her upbringing afforded her. Her father was Jacques Necker, a banker and general manager of the finances of the French monarchy who was a minister in the court of Louis XVI. Her mother was Suzanne Curchod, who prior to her marriage to De Necker was engaged to Edward Gibbon, author of the epic history The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The Neckers were very freethinking for their day, hosting salons and encouraging their daughter, born in 1766—ten years before the revolution in America—to read and write and to form her own opinions. Germaine certainly made good on that and became the foremost female intellectual of the Romantic period.
In 1786, she married the Baron de Staël-Holstein, ambassador of Sweden. Their marriage was tumultuous, and she took many lovers, most notably the Romantic poet August Schlegel and Benjamin Constant, a writer with liberation politics who became her longtime companion. In Paris, Madame de Staël convened a salon, a hotbed of politics and culture. She invited in new and established writers, artists, and thinkers alike.
Her praise of the German State prompted Napoleon to banish her from France. She picked up her life and moved to an estate she maintained in Switzerland at Coppet on Lake Geneva, where she assembled another equally dazzling group of cerebral companions, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
As a writer, de Staël greatly influenced the Europe of the day with her cardinal work On Germany, as well as a nonfiction sociological study of literature,
her novels Corinne of Italy and Delphine, and her memoir, Ten Years of Exile, published in 1818.
Corinne is her best-loved work, a daring story of an affair between a brilliant Italian woman and an English noble that explores themes of purity, free love, the place of domesticity, Italian art, architecture, geography, politics, and woman as genius as seen through the Romantic lens. Even today, Madame de Staël has not quite escaped her banned status. At this writing, there is no English translation of Corinne in print, and prior to the most recent one, there had been no new translation of the novel in nearly a hundred years, despite de Staël’s status as one of the preeminent women of letters of all time.
Wit consists in knowing the resemblance of things which differ and the difference of things which are alike.
Madame de Staël
Meditations Affirmations and Prayers to Soothe Your Soul (Daily Devotion for Women, Reflections, Spiritual Reading Book, Inspirational Book for Women)
Calming Prayer: Becca Anderson, bestselling author of the motivational books Prayers for Hard Times and The Woman’s Book of Prayer, brings us a new, up and coming classic, Prayers for Calm. Becca learned the power of healing prayer firsthand from pastors in her family who pray with their congregation as well as from working with Dr. Larry Dossey, a physician who prayed for his patients to great effect, leading to his book Prayer is Good Medicine. Through a mix of Bible verses, prayers for tranquility, quotes for quietude and peaceful poems, Prayers for Calm offers solace and serenity for every day of the year.
Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature (Feminist Book, Gift for Women, Gift for Writers)
This one-of-a-kind tome takes a tour with Sylvia Beach and other booksellers as well as librarians, editors, writers, bibliophiles, and celebrated book clubs. Join women’s studies scholar Anders as she takes you on a ribald ride through the pages of history. Chapter titles include “Prolific Pens” (including Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 100 books), “Mystics, Memoirists and Madwomen”, “Salons and Neosalons”, “Ink in Their Veins” (literary dynasties), and the titillating “Banned, Blacklisted, and Arrested.”