4 - Marie d’Agoult
A Liberal Republican
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 March 2021
Marie d’Agoult was famous in her own time as the lover of Franz Liszt and the mother of his children, one of whom, Cosima, married Richard Wagner. After her separation from Liszt, she made a career for herself as a femme de lettres and wrote a three-volume History of 1848 which was greatly admired by contemporaries including Flaubert who used it as a key source in the writing of Sentimental Education. Carefully researched, elegantly structured, and impressive for its nuanced judgments, her History communicates brilliantly the perspective of the democratic republicans who led the revolution at the outset. These were people who had devoted themselves for twenty years to the emancipation of the “proletariat” but found themselves supporting the crushing of the June insurrection on the ground that, however justified it may have been, it was an attack on the republic. After December 2 d’Agoult’s salon became for a decade a meeting place for liberals opposed to Napoleon III. Finally, she was willing to settle for a conservative republic, not unlike that imagined by Lamartine and briefly led by Cavaignac.
- Writers and RevolutionIntellectuals and the French Revolution of 1848, pp. 123 - 166Publisher: Cambridge University PressPrint publication year: 2021