Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and impact of Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) who Byron praised as Europe's greatest living writer, and was at the heart of intellectual and literary life in the France of revolution and of Napoleon. As well as attracting and inspiring others in her salon, she wrote novels, plays. literary criticism, political essays, and poems and developed the ideas behind Romanticism. She achieved this while regularly exiled from the Paris in which she was born, having fallen out with Napoleon who she opposed, becoming a towering figure in the history of European ideas.


Catriona Seth, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford

Alison Finch, Professor Emerita of French Literature at the University of Cambridge


Katherine Astbury, Associate Professor and Reader in French Studies at the University of Warwick.

Producer: Simon Tillotson.