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Madame de Staël

Germaine Necker: French Intellectual, Feminist, Salon Hostess


Madame de Stael - Germaine Necker

Madame de Stael - Germaine Necker

Adapted from an image in the public domain.
Dates: April 22, 1766 - July 14, 1817

Occupation: intellectual

Known for: French salon, support for French Revolution, criticism of Napoleon Bonaparte

Also known as: Germaine de Staël, Germaine Necker, and Anne-Louise-Germaine de Staël-Holstein

Madame de Staël was the well-educated daughter of a Swiss banker who was a financial advisor to King Louis XVI and a Swiss-French mother.

Germaine Necker was married in 1786 in an arranged and loveless match, ending with a legal separation in 1797. Madame de Stael had two children with her husband, another with a lover, and another born just before she secretly married the father, an army officer who was 23 to her 44.

Madame de Stael is known for her own salon, for her support of the French Revolution and eventually for the more moderate elements in that, and for her criticisms of Napoleon Bonaparte, who drove her from France knowing that her influence was great.

She died on Bastille Day.

Madame de Stael was one of the best-known "women of history" to writers in the 19th century, who often quoted her, though she is not nearly so well known today.

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