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Germaine de Stael

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas, works and life of Germaine de Stael (1766-1817), a literary critic, author, opponent of Napoleon and developer of Romanticism.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and impact of Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) who Byron praised as Europe's greatest living writer, and was at the heart of intellectual and literary life in the France of revolution and of Napoleon. As well as attracting and inspiring others in her salon, she wrote novels, plays. literary criticism, political essays, and poems and developed the ideas behind Romanticism. She achieved this while regularly exiled from the Paris in which she was born, having fallen out with Napoleon who she opposed, becoming a towering figure in the history of European ideas.


Catriona Seth, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford

Alison Finch, Professor Emerita of French Literature at the University of Cambridge


Katherine Astbury, Associate Professor and Reader in French Studies at the University of Warwick.

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

50 minutes

Last on

Thu 16 Nov 2017 21:30


Catriona Seth at the University of Oxford

Alison Finch at the University of Cambridge

Katherine Astbury at the University of Warwick

Germaine de Staël – Wikipedia

Société des Études Staëliennes (in French)



John Claireborne Isbell, The Birth of European Romanticism: Truth and Propaganda in Staël’s ‘De l’Allemagne’, 1810-1813 (Cambridge University Press, 1994)

Michael Ferber, Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Alison Finch, French Literature: A Cultural History (Polity, 2010)

Alison Finch, Women’s Writing in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Biancamaria Fontana, Germaine de Staël: A Political Portrait (Princeton University Press, 2016)

Geneviève Fraisse and Michelle Perrot (eds.), A History of Women in the West (vol 4): Emerging Feminism from Revolution to World War (Belknap Press, 1993)

Linda Kelly, Juniper Hall: An English Refuge from the French Revolution (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991)

Christopher Prendergast (ed.), A History of Modern French Literature (Princeton University Press, 2017), especially ‘Women’s Voices in Enlightenment France’ by Catriona Seth

Germaine de Staël (trans. Avriel H. Goldberger), Delphine (first published 1802; Northern Illinois University Press, 1995)

Germaine de Staël (trans. Sylvia Raphael), Corinne or Italy (first published 1807; Oxford University Press, 2008)

Germaine de Staël (ed. Aurelian Craiutu), Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (Liberty Fund, 2008)

Maria Fairweather, Madame de Staël (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005)

Renee Winegarten, Germaine de Staël & Benjamin Constant: A Dual Biography (Yale University Press, 2008)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Catriona Seth
Interviewed Guest Alison Finch
Interviewed Guest Katherine Astbury
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 16 Nov 2017 09:00
  • Thu 16 Nov 2017 21:30

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