By Marie D’Agoult, Daniel Stern, Lynn Hoggard

First released in 1846 below the pen identify Daniel Stern, Nelida tells the tale of an attractive French heiress who surrenders everything—marriage, attractiveness, and an aristocratic approach of life—for the affection of a skilled younger heart type painter. according to the author’s personal ten-year dating with the pianist and composer Franz Liszt, the unconventional fast turned the scandalous bestseller of its day. Its writer, Marie d’Agoult, has emerged as the most impressive ladies of her time. An aristocratic Parisian lady who left her husband and baby to develop into the better half of Liszt, d’Agoult grew to become an complete girl of letters whose works incorporated an immense background of the 1848 revolution in Paris. In Nelida, her basically significant novel, she brings to lifestyles the deeply intimate elements of her personal tale and the period within which it came about. Written with a prepared sensitivity to social mores and mental nuances, the unconventional unearths the primal cry of a lady decided to manage her personal future with out betraying her womanhood. showing right here for the 1st time in English, Lynn Hoggard’s translation of Nelida is ripe for rereading through today’s readers.

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At the age of ten, she had had brain fever, and only brutal means had healed her. Since then, nothing seemed to draw her from her stupor. Her parents had put her in the convent, hoping the change of environment and the regimen of communal life would help her. But her problem had only worsened. Faced with the malevolence of her companions, who delighted in increasing her weak mind’s confusion, intimidated and stunned, she became less alert by the day. Soon the last glimmer of reason would have been extinguished if Nelida hadn’t rescued her and pointedly made herself the girl’s protector.

Likewise, Marie the author must shape the sundered facets of her character into a balanced, interlocking unity. What d’Agoult seems to have been seeking in Nelida was a means to psychic integration of character, wholeness of being. The development of d’Agoult’s career after Nelida suggests that she tried to negotiate just such an enterprise—as a writer, historian, political activist, and social reformer. She would see herself in these endeavors as unlike the men of her time, because she would ground her actions in what she defined as her womanly strengths—her idealism, her charm, and her sense of relatedness to others.

She, in fact, lives by means of her abilities to attract men. She is also unabashedly manipulative, twice seducing Nelida’s husband Timoleon de Kervaens and twice discarding him, along with dozens of others. Yet even in her manipulativeness, she displays the relational qualities of charm. She remains with and cares for Guermann, who is ill and and nearly insane and who even rebuffs her forcefully, well after their sexual pleasures and her personal thrill of conquest have ceased. Perhaps it was important to Marie that Elisa appear one last time in the novel so that Nelida might stand vindicated before her rival; even so, the author could have created other, more limited, scenarios for such a settling of scores.

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