Read Corinne, or Italy by Germaine de Staël Sylvia Raphael Online


Corinne, or Italy (1807) is both the story of a love affair and Madame de Stael's homage to the landscape, literature, and art of Italy. The Scottish peer Lord Nelvil is torn between his passion for the beautiful Italian poetess Corinne and respect for his dead father's wish that he should marry Lucile, a traditionally dutiful English girl. His choice leads to tragedy forCorinne, or Italy (1807) is both the story of a love affair and Madame de Stael's homage to the landscape, literature, and art of Italy. The Scottish peer Lord Nelvil is torn between his passion for the beautiful Italian poetess Corinne and respect for his dead father's wish that he should marry Lucile, a traditionally dutiful English girl. His choice leads to tragedy for Corinne and a seared conscience for himself. Madame de Stael weaves discreet French Revolutionary allusion and allegory into her novel. It stands at the birth of modern nationalism and is also one of the first works to put a woman's creativity centre stage. Sylvia Raphael's new translation preserves the natural character of the French original and is complemented by notes and an introduction which sets an extraordinary work of European Romanticism in its historical context....

Title : Corinne, or Italy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780192825056
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Corinne, or Italy Reviews

  • Helynne
    2019-05-26 22:55

    Madame de Stael's second novel Corinne (1806), which takes place mostly in Italy but also in Scotland, infuriated Napoleon because Stael dared to ignore France and suggest that French writers had something to learn from the artistic milieu of Italy and from an intellectually superior heroine. The Emperor had already banned Stael from Paris for her first novel, Delphine (1802), which dared advocate divorce (forbidden under the Code Napoleon). When Corinne came out, he banned the author from all of France, which temporarily broke her heart, but never her spirit. The title character in Corinne is a gifted, independent woman who is at once actress, dancer, poet and artist. She loves and is loved by a man who ultimately cannot marry her because she is too independent, and after many twists and turns of the plot, marries Corinne's younger half-sister instead. The ending of the novel, which I will not reveal, is a heart-wrenching tribute to both feminism and Romanticism. In typical Romantic fashion, Madame de Stael and Corinne both possess a dual complex--a notion of personal superiority that is coupled with the near-paranoid fear that no one--or at least the people who really matter--would recognize or appreciate this superiority. Corinne was simply ahead of her time, which is why we 21st-century readers may love her even more than did her contemporaries who had to read of this phenomenal heroine on contraband pages and in secret. Great novel with a fascinating history!

  • Tracey
    2019-05-31 23:45

    Despite the idea behind this novel seeming to be interesting, I simply couldn't make myself really care about the characters to invest much effort with this one. A story of Oswald, choosing the safe choice of submissive, malleable less passionate woman over the sensitive, creative, energy consuming independent thinking woman who he really loves. Too much emotion and not enough real living for my tastes.

  • Corinne McNab
    2019-06-10 20:42

    I bought this book purely out of vanity (My name is on the cover). I tried to read it, but nearly dislocated my jaw yawning. If anything, this was great for my insomnia. Maybe I'll pick it up again when I'm a little bit older, more of an intellectual, or just plan out of anything else to read.

  • Tara
    2019-06-05 03:57

    Gorgeous, sumptuous, dripping with equal parts irony and Romanticism. I wish I'd had this book to console me during my first breakup.

  • Sheila
    2019-05-21 02:04

    My story of Corinne begins with my college experience of Literary Women, by Ellen Moers, and her dedication of an entire section to DeStael's book, entitled Performing Heroinism: The Myth of Corinne. I've finally, through the miracle of online publishing, been able to see for myself that which was so rigorously discussed in her book. As a researcher, Moers found Madame DeStael's early-19th-century book to be an essential contribution to the history of western Europe's early female authors. She cites its direct influence over Eliot, Barrett, Chopin, and even American author Beecher, etc; and presents its protagonist as THE archetype of the performing heroine (a female celebrity of talent), influencing many 19th century novels, including: Consuelo,The Song of The Lark, Aurora Leigh, even Uncle Tom's Cabin. Women authors of the time, Moers asserts, found an intriguing and kindred spirit in the character of Corinne - with her overwhelming "need to please, to captivate, to impress", and thus "enchant and subjugate the world". (As a matter of fact, I'm wondering right now if the precocious and pathetic Maggie, from The Mill on The Floss, was not an Eliot extrapolation - twisted and turned in upon itself - of the character of Corinne, as a woman of genius, if she had grown, only to wither, in the social mores of Britain rather than spending her formative years in her native country of Italy; or if she had actually acted on her impulse to return to live in the country of her father.) All of Moers' observations come in spite of her own feelings about Corinne, or Italy; she personally finds the book to be overwhelmingly silly and melodramatic and struggles to take it seriously. So I came to Corinne with a certain amount of prejudice, after spending 25 years with an author who staunchly asserts its surface ridiculousness. I was a bit surprised, then, to have my eyes opened through my own experience with the book. I found it to be, actually, in truth, surprisingly close to the heart. In love. In duty. In thought and in action. In the artistic impulse. Is the setup forced? Yeah. Is the dialogue unnatural? Yeah, sometimes. Corinne's continuous rambling discourse to Oswald about everything Italian, national history to national psychology to national politics, becomes wearing after a while - even though I understand this setup is to reinforce the concept of "naturalness" and "darkness" of Corinne and Italy, in opposition to the stifling social atmosphere of Britain at the same time. De Stael is not the only author, we know, to have gone to that well, in contrasting rainy, monotone England as-a-whole, to the sun-drenched, colorful Italy as-a-whole. It also shows off the depth of knowledge that DeStael must have had about both countries (she was incredibly educated, especially for a woman of her time). The story, in the end, was especially unsettling for me, in how much of the Corinne/Oswald tragedy resulted from mis-communication... from things not said (or said WAY too late); from motivations misunderstood and never clarified through explanation. This is the greatest preventable tragedy of all, in my own personal book of observation and experience. So these kinds of stories affect me the most. Corinne, ultimately, was that kind of story. And De Stael nailed it perfectly, despite the melodrama and the staging, and despite the lapse of 200 years between her writing the story and my reading it.

  • Franziska Grech
    2019-06-16 21:02

    I don't usually give 5 stars to a book unless it speaks to me and has something remarkable about it. And this book gave me both. Madame de Stael's writing can go to different lengths. From portraying with extreme the character's inner turmoil to describing a monument or place with extreme detail in such a way that even your emotions towards the monument are evoked. Moreover her beauty in her writing also lies in her great wisdom of life, inserting passages in her story of great moral thought so much so that one does not feel they are deviating or delaying from the story but rather supporting the story and bring the story to a universal level. Truly excellent !

  • Michael
    2019-05-29 23:46

    Potential readers beware: the first 200-300 pages of Corinne are basically just a long travel guide to Italy, and particularly Rome. If you enjoy reading about all the antiquities of that fabled land, you may enjoy the long descriptions of columns and ruins and paintings and sculptures. But I think most readers find these pages pretty boring.If you persist through, them, though, you will happen upon one of the most remarkable novels of the nineteenth century. Corinne, the heroine, is a woman of a power and force that you will struggle to find elsewhere in nineteenth-century fiction. Her passions, as she says herself, are volcanic:... il se passe tant de choses au fond de l'âme, que nous ne pouvons ni prévoir, ni diriger ...(... so many things pass in the depths of the soul, that we have no power to predict or control ...)La campagne de Naples est l'image des passions humaines: sulfureuse et féconde, ses dangers et ses plaisirs semblent naître de ces volcans enflammés qui donnent à l'air tant de charmes, et font gronder la foudre sous nos pas.(The Neapolitan landscape is the image of the human passions: sulfurous and fecund, its dangers and its pleasures seem born of these inflamed volcanos, which give to the air so many charms, and make thunder clap beneath our steps.)Compared to Emma Woodhouse, Dorothea Brooke, Anna Karenina, or even Jane Eyre, Corinne is a titan. Among the nineteenth-century books I've read, the only figure who matches her is Catherine Earnshaw. (Though perhaps Lady Delacour or Adeline Mowbray come close.) But there are important differences. Corinne is a symbol of beauty and sublimity. Her fiery deeds symbolise the highest hopes and possibilities of the human frame: "Qu'est-ce donc que le bonheur, me disais-je, si ce n'est pas le développement de nos facultés." ("What then is happiness, I say to myself, if it isn't the development of our faculties?") Cathy is an impressive symbol of human power, but is not a symbol of human goodness in the way Corinne is.The novel, as I say, starts very slowly. Corinne has an air of mystery that starts to propel the narrative, and by the time she and her lover Oswald go to Naples, the story has begun to fly forward with all the energy you could wish.In an age of rampant populism and ugly nationalism, this is a necessary book. It disproves all the stupid and shallow arguments against cosmopolitanism that you read in opinion columns. It portrays human nature in all its grandeur and pettiness. It is replete with the most beautiful, indeed the only kind, of liberalism: the determination "ni le blâmer, ni l'absoudre" ("neither to blame him, nor absolve him"). You need to read this brilliant thing to learn who is the object of De Staël's tolerance.Germaine De Staël is not as famous anymore as she should be. She was herself a Corinne, a woman whose wealth, charisma, intelligence and education allowed her to lead a truly free life such as few women of her time were able to. Like Corinne, she suffered exile, and was tossed about Europe on the high winds of history. She shocked and inspired her contemporaries, much in the way her great friend Byron or her great enemy Napoleon did. Corinne: ou l'Italie is a powerful expression of her powerful personality.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-06-12 04:06

    Le grand historien Christopher Duggan offre un interpretation de Corinne dans "The Force of Destiny" qui a radicalement changer ma maniére de voir ce roman. D'après Duggan la protagoniste n'est pas Corinne mais l'Italie dont Corinne est l'incarnation. Je présente alors l'interpretation de Duggan qui a l'avantage de transformer un roman d'amour insipide en allégorie politique percutanate.Le roman commence avec Lord Nelvil qui decide de faire un séjour en Italie. Dans l'allegorie, Nelvil est le puissant étranger qui va rater l'opportunité de libérer l'Italie qui souffre horriblement sous l'occupation Napoleonienne.Sur le chemin Nelvil fait preuve d'un grand heroisme. Il passé la nuit dans une ville cotiére quand le feu se déclaire. La ville manqué d'équipement pour lutter contre le feu. Lord Nelvil passé a l'action. Il va chercher les pompes sur les bateaux ancrés dans le port. Avec les matelots et les citadins il arrive a vaincre l'incendie et ainsie sauver des nombreuses vies.Arrivé à Rome, il fait la connaissance de la célèbre comedienne Corinne. Devant la Capitole, Corinne livre un monologue improvisé ou elle semble incarner la gloire de l'Italie de l'époque Romaine à la renaissance. Avec son élan vital, Corinne annonce que dans un avenir proche l'Italie connaitra une autre époque glorieuse.Lord Nelvil tombe amoureux mais il est trop prudent pour demander la main de Corinne. Corinne essaie de le séduire en le menant a travers les grandes édificies de Rome: le basilique de St. Pierre, le Pantheon et d'autres. Elle lui explique que dans la religion les symboles communiquent mieux que les paroles et qu'à Rome le religion Catholique est le mélange d'un symbolisme des paiens greffé sur une théologie chrétienne. Le St.¨Pierre de Rome est d'apres Corinne Jupiter et non le pauvre pecheur de Galilée.Lord Nelvil est impressionné par l'éloquence de Corinne mais il ne semble pas etre séduit. A la fin du roman, il n'a pas encore declaré son amour pour Corinne. Son reticence est consternant pour le lecteur qui veut que le roman aboutisse avec le marriage du couple. Cependant l'allégorie ne permet pas de tel dénouement. L'Angleterre va trahir L'Italie lors du congres de Vienne qui va re-instaurer tous les regimes moyen-ageux qui gouvernaitl'Italie avant l'envasion de Napoleon. L'Itale devra attendre presqu'une autre soixtaine d'années avant d'etre libérée et unifié par Cavour, Mazzini et Garibaldi.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-09 00:40

    Corinne was once called the worst great novel, and it's rather true. The biggest drawbacks are the plot and the characters, both of which are pretty insipid and suffer too much from the cult of romanticism (I love novels of the period, but enough with all the tremblings and faintings and weeping fits already). The "hero" especially is insufferably bigoted and sexist, yes I know different times and all; but his bemoaning the fact that the woman he loves isn't timid and retiring and actually enjoys her fame and her work gets old incredibly fast. As does his constantly putting down everything about Italy, especially the people and the customs. I couldn't understand what an intelligent dynamic woman like Corinne saw in such a narrow-minded weak waffler. Other reviews have commented on the pontificating and the philosophical discussions, which I agree with--they go on far too long and there is too much talking and not enough doing. However, there are a lot of good things technically about it--the writing itself is very good, and it's a testament to de Stael's skills that I read the whole thing despite all my grievances.

  • Theresa
    2019-05-23 21:53

    A book I would dearly have liked to edit--it would have been much better if it lost about half its length. I grew tired of waiting for the heroine to stop complaining about her lost love and die already (and the hero to stop fainting). However, I did read it for my research and not necessarily for entertainment.

  • Shannon Stults
    2019-06-10 05:06

    FINALLY!!!! I don't know when the last time it was that it took me over a month to read a book. Not a major fan of this book. The characters got on my nerves, the story was slow and the plot almost inexistant in the first half of the novel. I had to read this one for my 19th cent British lit class, and will probably never read it again!

  • Rebecca
    2019-06-01 21:59

    Blurgh. I honestly can't think of a single thing that I liked about this book. So slow as to be almost painful and the characters were ridiculous to a fault. Never have I wanted to throw a book against the wall so many times.

  • Valorie
    2019-06-15 03:01

    This novel, which is both love story and de Staël's homage to Italy, is a long exploration of a cultural clash between two lovers, one from England and one from Italy. It explores cultural nuance, the role of women in two cultures, and the danger of falling in love with someone not within your own culture. The main characters, Nevil and Corinne, are both heroes in their own cultural contexts but incompatible with each other's cultural ideals. The two learn about and navigate each other's lives, but ultimately recognize their incompatibility. In this sense, the story is fascinating. As a historical novel, it's fascinating in it's balance between the idea of marrying for love and having parents arrange marriages. It's a great example of Romantic literature and the rising ideas of nationalism. The story, however, is a long meandering novel. It's typical for it's time (1807) but I struggled to focus on it because it's also repetitive and can get boring.

  • Anelia Korueva
    2019-06-12 23:45

    По мне, слишком много драмы. Наверное, есть люди, которые чувствуют и переживают гораздо глубже, но здесь мне все кажется слишком преувеличенным. Я оцениваю то, что роман представляет нам картину нравов того времени, но мне трудно понять, что мужчина может быть таким, как Освальд. Дело не в том, что любил одну, полюбил другую, а в том, что он все время о чем-то страдает, над чем-то слезы проливает. Люди бывают всякими, конечно. Но именна эта черта его характера меня очень раздражает.

  • Jakob Barnes
    2019-05-19 21:56

    Amazing. Make this book huge again.

  • Prathyush Parasuraman
    2019-05-30 23:04

    I have been told that this is a proto feminist novel, though navigating this character I could not understand how. Is it just by virtue of her instituting her own doom that she can be seen as an early incarnation of the modern feminist? This book is one of those where the melodrama plagues the context to a point where the novel is just stripped to its language and the gestures, it no more is about plot or trajectories. This is seen in the descriptions of geography that span chapters. Lord Nelvil becomes one of the most infuriating characters. When you are using him as a foil for the ideal feminine, there is an expectation to create an ideal masculine, not a wavering indecisive lover. Intentions get misted as the story progresses, and the end is agonizing in how it does not provide redemption to any of the characters. There is almost complete consciousness in the novel's dubious narrative. I felt robbed after reading this novel, and I don't quite know if it means that this book is complete nonsense or it produces these characters who I so profoundly hate.

  • Beluosus
    2019-06-15 04:47

    Il y en a qui traversent la Mediterranée avec Homère, ou le Moyen-Orient avec la Bible. Moi, je suivrai ce livre à travers l'Italie. J'ai relu le chapitre de Florence avnt de partir pour Florence, mais elle n'y a pas fait grand chose, parce qu'elle sombrait dans le désespoir. Mais nous avons contemplé les portes d'airain dans la piazza del Duomo, et nous nous sommes émerveillés devant le Sacré Coeur.

  • Dangermousie
    2019-06-17 00:55

    I think the book would have easily gained another star if only Lord Nelvil would shut up and wander off into a quiet corner to die. What Corinne ever saw in him escapes me. Still, this is a very good example of an 18th/early 19th century novel and I happen to really like that sort of thing so three stars.

  • Strawny
    2019-06-07 04:48

    This book bugged me. I got tired of all the pontificating as (not so) veiled descriptions of Italy vs. England (Scotland really). I realize that this was the point of the book, but it was annoying to me all the same. The one thing of the book I appreciated was all the desciptions of Rome and Italy in general.

  • Freya
    2019-06-06 22:46

    i don't know how to feel about this novel. it is certainly an accomplishment, but reading it was physically painful (seemed to give me a headache every time i picked it up)-- so so slow and incredibly frustrating.

  • Katrina
    2019-06-05 21:44

    A great story from start to finish. A perfect sketch of the careful situation of a 'powerful' woman who lives under the dictates of class and the behaviors of those who dare not alter the rules. Beautifully sad, evocative of the richness of life, and the struggle for love in death.

  • Kathleen
    2019-06-05 05:07

    I mean...honestly Corrine. You could have done so much better than Oswald. (This book describes Italian paintings a lot but has plenty of ~deeper meaning~ as per my prof)

  • Alex
    2019-06-05 02:40

    Found on this list of forgotten classics.

  • Jan Schindler
    2019-06-09 03:43

    set it aside for now

  • Cheyanne
    2019-06-11 04:57

    oh madame de stael -- the drama!

  • Els
    2019-06-10 02:01

    I will have to think this one through for a while, but as my rating shows, I loved it.

  • Laura
    2019-06-07 23:58

    Volume 1 (of 2)Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

  • Rebecca
    2019-06-08 23:54

    Tragic tale of a genius whose brilliance expires when she's forsaken for a hot blonde. *shakes fist at men*Corrine's correct about the English. Their culture is a coffin.