Madame de StaŽl

Back Next

Baronne Anne Louise Germaine Necker de StaŽl-Holstein (otherwise known simply as "Madame de StaŽl,"), was a French writer, literary patron, and critic of the Napoleonic period and famous for her ironic wit and cutting tongue. She despised Count Charles Maurice Talleyrand-Pťrigord (1754-1838), Napoleon's foreign minister--who was fully her equal. Many of their verbal exchanges were infamous.

"Prince," she once said to him, "There has been a new book circulated in which the author represents each of us in thin disguise. He can scarcely value your masculinity, however, for he saw fit to portray each of us as an attractive woman."

"Indeed? replied Talleyrand, with an unperturbed bow, "and wrong in each case ..."