Germaine de Staël’s Réflexions sur le procès de la reine: An act of compassion?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


title = "Germaine de Sta{\"e}l{\textquoteright}s R{\'e}flexions sur le proc{\`e}s de la reine: An act of compassion?",
abstract = "In the foreword to the Mercure de France edition of de Sta{\"e}l. (1996 [1793]. R{\'e}flexions sur le proc{\`e}s de la reine. Paris: Mercure de France), Chantal Thomas, French historian and writer, writes that this apology in favor of Marie-Antoinette did not help the queen nor the author herself; on the contrary it only made the latter more unpopular. So why did Germaine de Sta{\"e}l write it? Mme de Sta{\"e}l and Marie-Antoinette did not share many interests; however, at the moment of The Women{\textquoteright}s March on Versailles in October 1789, the situation had changed. It was at this moment, when Mme de Sta{\"e}l witnessed people{\textquoteright}s hatred for the Queen, that she for the first time felt that she was on her side. She had the feeling that the Queen would be a victim to a public opinion that had been “manipulated” (Thomas. 1996. Preface. In R{\'e}flexions sur le proc{\`e}s de la reine, 7–14. Paris: Mercure de France: 12) in a systematic way, and to which she herself had been a victim. Pursuing some ideas formulated by Reddy (2000, 2001) and (Nussbaum, Martha C. 2001. Upheavals of thought: The intelligence of emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.) in their work on emotion and empathy in history and philosophy respectively, I hope to offer some suggestions, with the aid of cultural semiotics. More specifically I hope to be able to provide some answers to the question whether Mme de Sta{\"e}l{\textquoteright}s apology might be regarded as an act of compassion.",
keywords = "Germaine de Sta{\"e}l, cultual semiotics, history culture, empathy, Marie-Antoinette, France, cultural semiotics, Germaine de Sta{\"e}l, emotion, empathy, history",
author = "{Cabak R{\'e}dei}, Anna",
year = "2020",
month = jan,
day = "11",
doi = "10.1515/sem-2019-0039",
language = "English",
journal = "Semiotica",
issn = "0037-1998",
publisher = "Mouton de Gruyter",