The Influence of Literature upon Society, by Germaine de Staël

the future is female Gabrielle Dubois storyteller

How to review, to summarize, this book? I don’t know. Or, to save face, I would say: I don’t have enough time to gather in a few sentences the ideas, the thoughts, the clairvoyance, the intelligence of Germaine de Stael!

Because, hang in there, almost each sentence of this brilliant woman makes you think. But at the same time, it's clear, obvious, easy. And I am in awe of so much (female) genius, which, by the way, is given so little room in high school French textbooks, in France.

But let's go back to Germaine de Staël, who was a great political writer. Napoleon said about her, ironic: "This woman learns to think to those who would not do or who would have forgotten. " Ironic, but true, in my opinion. Because she was liberal, democratic and European, against the Emperor who exiled her. She advocated for divorce and the right of women to happiness - Napoleon's Civil Code of 1810 is the opposite of these notions! - She defended freedom of expression and the abolition of slavery. And she lived: she had husbands, children, lovers. She loved them all with passion. Germaine de Stael neglected neither her mind, nor her body, nor her heart.

If democracy can only be exercised with the consent of the people, then this people must be educated to be able to make the right choices:

"The progress of literature, that is, the improvment of the art of thinking and expressing oneself, is necessary for the establishment and preservation of Liberty."

But tyrants are afraid of education: "My father often told me that a free newspaper would do Bonaparte more harm than an army of one hundred thousand men." Then the tyrant muzzle the press which becomes his slave: "Bonaparte cannot suffer the freedom of the press, but he likes to use the slave press. He makes newspapers speak in a thousand different ways. He knows the importance of opinion and never tires of constantly acting on it."

Germaine de Staël enters all the facets of writing, like poetry:
"The gift of revealing by words what one feels in the heart is very rare; yet there is poetry in all beings capable of lively and profound affections; the expression is lacking to those who are not trained to find it. The poet does, so to speak, only release the prisoner feeling in the depths of the soul."

She also raises difficult questions still topical:
"What would become of a world where one would never hear speak the language of good and generous feelings?"

If you want to know the answer, read Germaine de Staël! And you will get more than an answer: "What consolations are given us by writers of a superior talent and a high soul!"
This is worth it, is it?

The future is female, itw as yesterday, itis more thane ver today !©

Gabrielle Dubois©   

Write a comment

Comments: 0