By R. Casillo
This booklet locations Germaine de Stael's influential novel, Corrine, or Italy (1807) when it comes to previous and next stereotypes of Italy as obvious within the works of Northern ecu and American go back and forth writers because the Renaissance.
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Extra info for The Empire of Stereotypes: Germaine de Staël and the Idea of Italy
AugustWilhelm Schlegel was subsequently to play the role of cicerone during Staël’s Italian tour, thus providing her with the benefit of his considerable erudition. 138 Sismondi’s developing ideas on the medieval Italian republics corrected her assumption of Italy’s political servility after Rome. She had always much preferred Italian music, especially opera. 139 What seems to have most profoundly altered Staël’s view of Italy was her first-hand discovery that, contrary to her opinion in On Literature, the Italians were capable of more than emotional and aesthetic superficiality.
In addition to extending her knowledge of classical authors and German aesthetic theory, Staël read Winckelmann and Lessing upon the recommendation of the Schlegel brothers and thus developed a new appreciation for classical harmony and repose. AugustWilhelm Schlegel was subsequently to play the role of cicerone during Staël’s Italian tour, thus providing her with the benefit of his considerable erudition. 138 Sismondi’s developing ideas on the medieval Italian republics corrected her assumption of Italy’s political servility after Rome.
Corinne confirms this idea in observing that in Italy “there is no will to excel in anything . . : life is no more than a dream-filled sleep under beautiful skies” (103). What remains less certain in the novel is whether national habits must necessarily change through intelligent political intervention, as Corinne believes. 26 THE EMPIRE OF STEREOTYPES III Staël is not the first writer to ascribe to Italy’s weather and environment a powerful and—on balance—ultimately negative characterological influence upon its people.