By K. Steven Vincent
Conventional scholarship on French liberalism has often proceeded via defining the center matters and telling a narrative in their emergence and improvement. This publication takes a unique procedure: instead of starting with an a priori definition of liberalism, it specializes in the political considered Benjamin consistent and Germaine de Sta?l, the 1st figures in France to name their notion “liberal.” In so doing, it advances a brand new interpretation of the timing and personality of French (and extra greatly ecu) liberalism, and contributes to the continued debate in regards to the position of morality, sociability, and conceptions of the “self” in sleek liberal concept.
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Extra info for Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History)
We do not want to live without a chief, but we do not want to live under a despot, that is to say, without energy, without glory. . ”62 Constant was equally critical of the mores of court society, especially of the court of Brunswick. “You do not have an adequate idea of the boredom of this town,” he wrote Isabelle de Charrière in March 1788. 64 Overall, what strikes the reader of Constant’s early works and correspondence is the highly developed critical abilities of this sensitive young man.
Everywhere he traveled, he searched for the warm embrace of friends—reconnaissance et amitié— and the stimulating intellectual interchange of a cultivated elite. 1057/9780230117105 - Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism, K. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-24 Constant: The Early Years (1767–95) 31 32 Constant and French Liberalism Constant’s long residence in Brunswick meant that he viewed revolutionary events in France only vicariously.
On October 14, 1794, he wrote to Isabelle de Charrière in a more moderate tone. with Hippolyte de Guibert and the future power broker CharlesMaurice de Talleyrand. In 1786, she had married Eric Magnus de Staël Holstein, the Swedish ambassador to France. It was a marriage of convenience for both parties, and they lived virtually separate lives. When Constant and Staël met, she already had given birth to two children as a result of her passionate relationship with Louis de Narbonne, a liaison that lasted, roughly, from 1788 to 1794; and she was in the throes of an amorous attachment to Adolf von Ribbing.