An Article Comes Forth

So, back in the mists of time, back before this blog and even back before the start of this thesis, I decided to read some writing by Madame de Staël. Everyone should do this.

In my case, I read her Corinne, ou l’Italie, her De la littérature and her De lAllemagne. My interest in Shakespeare was already well developed by this time (the bard and I go much further back than the mists of time), and I found much in these texts that caught my interest. Once I was back in Cambridge, and not too deep in my doctoral research, I devoted some time in September 2012 to writing up my thoughts on Staël’s relation to Shakespeare, especially with regard to Corinne.

Those thoughts became an article, my first (and so far only) one written en français; that article was submitted to the journal Etudes françaises; and that article has now come forth. Or, rather, has been printed in a limited run and published online behind a paywall.

I reproduce here, my abstracts, in French and English for this piece, contact me if you want to learn more. Or, better yet, go read some Staël.

Une tragédie possible : Corinne, ou l’Italie et Roméo et Juliette

Le jeu de Corinne dans le rôle de Juliette constitue un épisode important dans le développement du roman de Germaine de Staël. La présentation de la pièce de Shakespeare souligne le caractère italien, l’intimité et le rôle du destin dans la pièce, trois thèmes qui sont repris tout au long de l’oeuvre et à l’aune desquels il est possible de mesurer le déclin du rapport entre Corinne et Oswald ainsi que celui d’un esprit italien. À la fin du roman, les deux portraits du Prince Castel-Forte, montrant Corinne lors de la représentation de Roméo et Juliette à côté de son état actuel, invitent à cette lecture rétrospective du roman ; en revanche, l’intertexte shakespearien est devenu ici un moyen d’exprimer la détresse de l’héroïne et ne suffit pas à la compréhension des événements de l’histoire. Corinne, ou l’Italie s’intéresse surtout aux limites du travail artistique, que ce soit celui de Shakespeare ou de l’héroïne elle-même.
The performance of Corinna as Juliet is a crucial part of the novel’s development. Shakespeare’s play is presented with an emphasis on its Italian nature, intimacy and destiny: three elements subsequently reprised and with which the decline both of Corinna and Oswald’s romance and of an Italian spirit can be evaluated. At the novel’s end, Castel-Forte’s two portraits of Corinna as Juliet and of her current state invite such a retrospective, ironic reading; however, Shakespeare’s text has now become a means to express the heroine’s distress and thus insufficiently captures the story’s events. Corinna, or Italy is above all interested in the limits of artistic work, be it Shakespeare’s or that of its heroine.

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