Helena Rosenblatt

Madame de Staël's religion

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Jacques Necker; Benjamin Constant; Charles De Villers; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Reasonable Calvinism; Sentimentalism; Mysticism.

Madame de Staël's views on religion have perplexed modern readers. People agree that she was «religious» her whole life, but exactly what this means has remained unclear. Many find her religious views vague and contradictory. This essay argues that de Staël is best understood as a reformer and religious seeker who was searching for a new or updated religion that might bring «calm to the soul» of French citizens while also helping to foster the civic values they needed to sustain a liberal constitution. This new religion would combine some aspects of the «reasonable Calvinism» of her upbringing and those of more sentimentalist and mystic varieties that she explored as an adult.

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