Benjamin Constant: A Biography by Dennis Wood

By Dennis Wood

`For 40 years i've got defended a similar precept: freedom in every little thing, in faith, in philosophy, in literature, in undefined, in politics - and by means of freedom I suggest the triumph of the individual.'
consistent hence summarized his ideals on the finish of his existence. A political theorist and a passionate defender of person liberty, he was once additionally the writer of 1 of the best French novels of mental perception, Adolphe. In an enormous new biography Dennis wooden strains the improvement of continuing as a author centrally preoccupied with the problematics of freedom, not just within the fields of politics and spiritual trust but in addition in his personal afflicted dating with a number of ladies.

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Perhaps only May had achieved anything with Benjamin, but his obtuseness made him in the long term unsuitable in Juste’s eyes. Having avoided all educational institutions for so many years he was at last forced to The grief that does not speak 39 send Benjamin away from home. 80 The choice of this German university was the result of Juste’s chance meeting with the Protestant Margrave of Ansbach-Bayreuth, Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander (1736–1806), an amiable and cultured eccentric whose court was essentially French in outlook.

However, when Marianne became Constant’s full-time guardian in 1772 she was 20 years of age. 48 She bore Juste a son, Charles de Rebecque in 1784 and a daughter, Louise de Rebecque, later Baroness d’Estournelles, in 1792. 49 It is difficult to believe. However, the structure of one’s childhood relationships is an immediate Benjamin constant 30 ‘given’ which is sometimes not questioned until much later life, and this seems to have been the case with Benjamin Constant. For many years, therefore, Marianne occupied the role of protector, perhaps of elder sister, and of substitute mother, before becoming, very late in the day, his stepmother.

In her friendship with her cousin Benjamin, who was nine years her junior, she could be relied on for her unsentimental kindness and support as well as for needle-sharp home truths about his character and behaviour. She had a Calvinist’s unswerving respect for the truth, however uncomfortable that was at times, but also a modesty about her own Benjamin constant 32 worth which added greatly to the force of her observations. In later life Constant would express his appreciation of his ‘chère cousine’ in the following terms: Seeing you and talking to you is one of the greatest pleasures in my life.

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