‘The most famous woman in Europe’: Germaine de Staël

Professor Catriona Seth, Oxford University
Event date
Event time
13:00 - 13:45
The Weston Library
Broad Street
Venue details

The Weston lecture theatre, Blackwell Hall, main entrance on Broad Street

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

When Germaine de Staël died in July 1817 she was the most famous woman in Europe, renowned for taking a political stance, publishing essays and novels which were widely translated and circulated. She had been at once admired and reviled as a public intellectual, caricatured by the gutter press for her unconventional looks and lifestyle, exiled by several régimes. Napoleon was said to recognise three powers in Europe—England, Russia and Madame de Staël—and it was to John Murray that the author turned to publish her seminal work on Germany which the Emperor had banned. She drove a hard bargain but was to prove one of the star attractions of his catalogue, along with Byron.