Pierre-Louis Bouvier. Anne Louise Germaine (née Necker), Madame de Staël-Hollstein, 1817. National Portrait Gallery, London
Germaine de Staël
b. 1766, Paris; d. 1817, Paris
Daughter of Jacques Necker, director of finance under King Louis XVI, andSuzanne Curchod Necker, a central figure in the salons of Paris, Germaine de Staël's sympathies with the French Revolution and her opposition to Napoleon forced her into frequent exile. Her travels often inspired her writings, many of which are considered the first romantic novels. Addressing a wide variety of subjects, her works include Delphine(1802), the story of a young woman who has an affair with a married man;Corinne (1807), inspired by a trip to Italy; De l'Allemagne (1810), a comparison of French and German culture that was later banned by Napoleon, who considered it denigrating to the French; and Dix années d'exil (1821), an autobiographical account of her years in exile.