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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The key question that needs to be addressed when considering Germaine de Staël’s contribution to what is conventionally called European Romanticism, is: how did she get there? How can we trace the path that led from the shapeless intellectual ambitions of an exceptionally talented young woman, thoroughly educated in the tradition of the Enlightenment, to a set of novel intuitions about modern society, about the politics, morals, and aesthetics of a new age? This chapter explains how Staël became a political activist, a leading figure (if not a leader) in her own party, the catalyst of a set of converging reflections on republicanism and representative government; a dissident writer and intellectual with an international reputation, the promoter of exchanges amongst cultures and of new aesthetic trends; a historian whose narrative of the Revolution of 1789 would become an essential reference for posterity.

Keywords: Enlightenment, modernity, republicanism, culture, history, dissidence, France.

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