Noreen J. Swallow (essay date 1981)
SOURCE: “Portraits: A Feminist Appraisal of Mme de Staël's Delphine,” in Atlantis, Vol. 7, No. 1, Fall, 1981, pp. 65-76.
[In the following essay, Swallow assesses Delphine as it depicts “the oppressive effects of patriarchal hegemony.”]
Madame de Staël has suffered from superficial and fallacious criticism disposed to dismiss her novels as clumsy, dated romans à clef. Certainly there are weaknesses in Staël's writing—she is, for example, annoyingly prone to prolixity and repetition—but her contribution as a writer of fiction has been unduly minimized, especially by critics prepared to see no more in Staëlien theme and characterization...
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