Saturday, December 19, 2009

Madame de Stael

I'm addicted to the biography of Mme. de Stael as if it was a novel. She lived her life as one huge adventure - really, one long search for love. She was exceptionally intelligent and never hesitated to say exactly what she thought to anyone in her near vicinity.

It was, occasionally, Napoleon Bonaparte who was within earshot and he never liked anything she had to say. As a matter of fact, I have the distinct impression that he didn't deem it worth his time to listen to anything women had to say unless it was about motherhood or being a wife. It's been very interesting to read this book because I'm learning a lot more about the Napoleonic era and the downfall of the French monarchy. I'm not at all a big fan of Napoleon and I find myself cringing on Mme. de Stael's behalf because the mistakes she made are PRECISELY the kind of mistakes I make.

She walked around with her heart open all the time, throwing herself into friendships. Some of the friendships were worthwhile and brought her joy but some were destructive. She was also the epitome of the high-maintenance woman.

On the whole, however, I must say that I would love to be more like her. She wrote and acted so well that people all over (except for Napoleon) adored her for her gifts, she loved and taught her children very well, and she truly went after what she wanted in life.

But she was always prone to sadness. I think many sensitive artists are - I honestly don't know how you can avoid melancholy if you look at the world through sensitive eyes. Even with sadness as a consideration, I still wish art was a bigger part of my creative energies. It would be so much more satisfying than the practice of law!

1 comment:

Megan Willome said...

Love this: "I honestly don't know how you can avoid melancholy if you look at the world through sensitive eyes."

Preach it, sister!