Paris: Nicolle…re-imprimé par John Murray, 1813. First published edition of Madame de Stael’s work on Germany, which contains her most important work in literary criticism. The true first edition of 1810 was seized before publication by Napoleonic authorities, who were insulted by de Stael’s championship of another culture, and only four copies are known to survive. The present edition was published in England while de Stael was exiled for the third time. Spines faded, with light staining, binding extremities rubbed, one gathering slightly loose in Volume I, intermittent light foxing. Twentieth-century presentation inscription on front free endpaper of Volume I, small library rubberstamp on verso of each title-page. A good, tight set overall. Contemporary reddish-brown calf over marbled boards, gilt-ruled spines with dark brown morocco labels. Three volumes, octavo. pp. [iii-xxiv], 360; [pp. iii-vi], 399; pp. [iii-viii], 416 pp.
Bound without the half-titles. Item #16394
In 1800, Madame de Stael (1766-1817) published De la littérature considérée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales. In it, she attempts to show the influence of religion, manners, and laws on literature, and of literature on religion, manners, and laws. She reviews the literature of previous ages and of various countries to show that literature reflects the society and thought of its day, and in turn the best literature influences the progress of humanity. A decade later, she produced the present work, which built upon the ideas in her earlier book. It introduced German Romanticism to French audiences and did much to influence the direction of French literature. Wellek in his History of Modern Criticism discusses De l'Allemagne at length, emphasizing the superiority of this to her earlier work: “De l’Allemagne is completely continuous with De la Littérature. But she had greatly improved as a literary critic, especially in analyzing and characterizing individual works of art…De l’Allemagne contributed importantly to that ‘world literature’ which Goethe envisaged later as a synthesis of the European spirit…” (See Wellek, Volume II, pp. 224-231).
Longchamp, L'Œuvre imprimée de de Mme Germaine de Staël, 91.