Against the wishes of her parents and the traditions of upper-class French society, Germaine de Staël (17661817) struggled to be accepted as a serious writer. At a time when ladies wrote a little poetry and small stories, Staël insisted on writing about politics and philosophy.
In an effort to abide by the rules of her society, she wrote in two stylesthat of a woman and that of a manbut as Charlotte Hogsett points out, Staël’s efforts to write as a man could not disguise the woman behind the pen. Hogsett treats both the expository and fictional works in the Staël canon. The male canon reflects her respect for Rousseau and Chateaubriand; the female, her own courage and intelligence, for there was no one to emulate. Hogsett provides a vivid analysis of Staël’s maturation as both woman and writer.
About the Author
Charlotte Hogsett is a contributor to Feminist Visions: Toward a Transformation of the Liberal Curriculum, edited by Marianne Triplette.