By R. Casillo

This ebook locations Germaine de Stael's influential novel, Corrine, or Italy (1807) relating to previous and next stereotypes of Italy as obvious within the works of Northern eu and American commute writers because the Renaissance.

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With regard to other types of writing, Staël claims that Italy has no novels because, unlike the English and French among whom the novel flourishes, the Italians experience love not as a profound passion but as an immediate impulse ill-suited to long development such as one finds in a novel; moreover the Italian form of love is too licentious to lend itself to the novelistic form. So far as tragedy is concerned, Staël acknowledges the brilliance and originality of Metastasio and Alfieri but complains of their 20 THE EMPIRE OF STEREOTYPES characters’ lack of profundity and still more pointedly of the fact that these writers, having no basis for tragic representation in the general customs of a degraded people, have had to draw their sentiments entirely out of themselves.

Archenholz’s England und Italien (Leipzig, 1786; French trans. 74 It is obvious nonetheless that the portrayal of England in On Literature is much idealized; what further needs emphasizing is that, following its publication in 1800, Staël came to experience a certain disenchantment with the country. ”75 This did not prevent her, however, from painting an often favorable picture of England in her posthumously published Considerations on the Revolution in France. To an extent greater than continental Europe, England understood that liberty presupposes a high degree of enlightenment.

Unlike Italy, England guarantees the freedom of the press. In contrast with French society, where more rigid class distinctions confront talented individuals with a barrier to social advancement, English society is much DECLINE AND DISCOVERY 23 more open to ability and emulation; and whereas one has almost never heard of French aristocrats entering commercial careers, their English counterparts are accustomed to doing so, with the result that national prosperity has increased and rank and equality are more happily combined.

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