Aurelian Craiutu, “How to Combat Fanaticism and the Spirit of Party: Germaine de Staël’s Lesson”
The year 2017 marked the bicentenary of Germaine de Staël's death (1766-1817). Although her name almost never appears in textbooks or histories of political thought in the English-speaking world her political thought is undeniably rich and brilliant. The recent revival of interest in French political thought, as manifested by the publication of many works by and about Constant, Tocqueville, or Guizot, has not extended to Madame de Staël. Therefore, it is high time for her to finally receive the place that she deserves in the history of political thought. This would be an overdue act of justice for a woman who defied many conventions of her time and made a name for herself in a highly competitive and male-dominated world. But there is a second reason why the rediscovery of Madame de Staël's political thought and the publication of her political works should be a priority today. Having lived in revolutionary times, she had a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the importance of ideas and the power of passions in society and political life. In this month's Liberty Matters discussion Aurelian Craiutu, professor of political science at Indiana University, will present arguments why she should no longer remain a neglected political thinker. He is joined in the discussion by Benjamin Hoffmann, assistant professor of early modern French Studies at The Ohio State University; Catriona Seth, the Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford; and Steven Vincent, professor of history at North Carolina State University. See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".