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The Life of Madame Necker

Sin, Redemption and the Parisian Salon


The Body, Gender and Culture: 5

Sonja Boon

192pp: 234x156mm: 2011
HB 978 1 84893 056 8: £60/$99
HB sale price: £15/$24.75
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'a fascinating psychological examination of this famous eighteenth-century salonnière’s life'

Journal of Historical Biography


  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews

Suzanne Curchod Necker was one of the most influential women of her day: hostess to a brilliant literary salon, wife of Jacques Necker, the politically powerful pre-revolutionary French finance minister, and mother to the great Romantic writer Germaine de Staël. Madame Necker occupies a unique position in French social and cultural history, but, dwarfed by the posthumous legacies of her husband and daughter, the last biographical study of her was over sixty years ago. This study breaks new ground by examining the profoundly corporeal nature of Madame Necker’s life – her debilitating, decades-long psychic and somatic suffering and subsequent premature death and curious burial.

Interdisciplinary in scope, but unified by its emphasis on the body as cultural construct and lived experience, this archivally based work is informed by theoretical engagement with feminist theories of the body, performance studies and theories of auto/biography.

Introduction: Abjection and Display
1 ‘She Will Never Acquire the Art of Pleasing’
2 Embodied Faith: Madame Necker’s Intimate Theology
3 Filial Duty and the Maternal Body
4 Performing Pathology: Staging the Sick Body
5 Specular Death: Staging the Virtuous Body
  • 'a fascinating psychological examination of this famous eighteenth-century salonnière’s life'

    Journal of Historical Biography

  • 'Original and contains many insights.'

    European Romantic Review

ISBNs: 9781848930568 978-1-84893-056-8 ISBNs: 9781848930575 978-1-84893-057-5 ISBNs: 9781781442388 978-1-78144-238-8

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