Germaine de STAEL

Family tree of Germaine de STAEL

Author

FrenchBorn Anne Louise Germaine NECKER

French-speaking Swiss author

Born on April 22, 1766 in Paris, France , France

Died on July 14, 1817 in Paris, France

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Madame de Staël was the daughter of the prominent Swiss statesman Jacques Necker, who was the Director of Finance under King Louis XVI of France, and Suzanne Curchod, almost equally famous as the early love of Edward Gibbon, as the wife of Necker himself, and as the mistress of one of the most popular salons of Paris. Between mother and daughter there was, however, little sympathy. Mme Necker, despite her talents, her beauty and her fondness for philosophic society, was strictly decorous, somewhat reserved, and disposed to carry out in her daughter's case the rigorous discipline of her own childhood. The future Mme de Staël was from her earliest years a romp, a coquette, and passionately desirous of prominence and attention. There seems moreover to have been a sort of rivalry between mother and daughter for the chief place in Necker's affections, and it is not probable that the daughter's love for her mother was increased by the consciousness of her own inferiority in personal charms. Mme Necker was of a most refined though somewhat lackadaisical style of beauty, while her daughter was a plain child and a plainer woman, whose sole attractions were large and striking eyes and a buxom figure.



She was, however, a child of unusual intellectual power, and she began very early to write though not to publish. She is said to have injured her health by excessive study and intellectual excitement. But in reading all the accounts of Mme de Staël's life which come from herself or her intimate friends, it must be carefully remembered that she was the most distinguished and characteristic product of the period of sensibility — the singular fashion of ultra-sentimentalism — which required that both men and women, but especially women, should be always palpitating with excitement, steeped in melancholy, or dissolved in tears. Still, there is no doubt that her father's dismissal from the ministry and the consequent removal of the family from the busy life of Paris, were beneficial to her.

...   Madame de Staël was the daughter of the prominent Swiss statesman Jacques Necker, who was the Director of Finance under King Louis XVI of France, and Suzanne Curchod, almost equally famous as the early love of Edward Gibbon, as the wife of Necker himself, and as the mistress of one of the most popular salons of Paris. Between mother and daughter there was, however, little sympathy. Mme Necker, despite her talents, her beauty and her fondness for philosophic society, was strictly decorous, somewhat reserved, and disposed to carry out in her daughter's case the rigorous discipline of her own childhood. The future Mme de Staël was from her earliest years a romp, a coquette, and passionately desirous of prominence and attention. There seems moreover to have been a sort of rivalry between mother and daughter for the chief place in Necker's affections, and it is not probable that the daughter's love for her mother was increased by the consciousness of her own inferiority in personal charms. Mme Necker was of a most refined though somewhat lackadaisical style of beauty, while her daughter was a plain child and a plainer woman, whose sole attractions were large and striking eyes and a buxom figure.



She was, however, a child of unusual intellectual power, and she began very early to write though not to publish. She is said to have injured her health by excessive study and intellectual excitement. But in reading all the accounts of Mme de Staël's life which come from herself or her intimate friends, it must be carefully remembered that she was the most distinguished and characteristic product of the period of sensibility — the singular fashion of ultra-sentimentalism — which required that both men and women, but especially women, should be always palpitating with excitement, steeped in melancholy, or dissolved in tears. Still, there is no doubt that her father's dismissal from the ministry and the consequent removal of the family from the busy life of Paris, were beneficial to her.



During part of the next few years they resided in the Swiss village of Coppet at the Château de Coppet, her father's estate on Lake Geneva, which she herself made famous. But other parts were spent in travelling about, chiefly in the south of France. They returned to Paris, or at least to its neighborhood, in 1785, and Mlle Necker resumed literary work of a miscellaneous kind, including a novel, Sophie, printed in 1786, and a tragedy, Jeanne Grey, published in 1790.



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