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The Philosophical and Literary Ideas of Mme de Staël and Mme de Genlis

Translated by John Lavash


Machteld De Poortere

If nearly two centuries have left the reputation of Mme de Staël intact, the same could not be said for Mme de Genlis who, despite several recent studies, remains unknown to critics and the general public. This book compares and contrasts the ideas of these two women who lived in the same period. It strives to emphasize the system of thought that was the basis for their reactions to the historical events of their time. This volume contains a new reading of the historical novels of Mme de Genlis, highlighting some Romantic aspects in her works. It shows that Mme de Genlis, who professed to hate Romanticism, was in reality strongly influenced by this movement. Finally, a comparison between Corinne and Delphine and La Duchesse de la Vallière and Madame de Maintenon underlines the importance of history for these two writers and the different ways in which they approached it in their work.