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Corinne, or Italy

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Corrine, or Italy, is both the story of a love affair between Oswald, Lord Nelvil, and a beautiful poetess, and an homage to the landscape, literature and art of Italy. Stael, the subject of recent feminist rediscovery, weaves discreet political allusion into her romance, and upon its publication Napoleon renewed her order of exile. Sylvia Raphel's new translation ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1807)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  277 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Lisa
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Fionnuala, who keeps reminding me of the books that formed me in the prehistoric times of my enthusiastic youth!

Corinne is the eternal question of self-defined development in a restrictive environment. It can be read as an early attempt at female creative emancipation, or as a universal story of finding and expressing a powerful self in a dull collective.

It can be read as a love story with a beautiful setting - the object of love being art.

It can be read as a period piece showing a way of
...more
Helynne
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Madame de Stael's second novel Corinne (1806), which takes place mostly in Italy but also in Scotland, infuriated Napoleon because Stael dared to ignore France and suggest that French writers had something to learn from the artistic milieu of Italy and from an intellectually superior heroine. The Emperor had already banned Stael from Paris for her first novel, Delphine (1802), which dared advocate divorce (forbidden under the Code Napoleon). When Corinne came out, he banned the author from all ...more
Tracey the Bookworm
Despite the idea behind this novel seeming to be interesting, I simply couldn't make myself really care about the characters to invest much effort with this one. A story of Oswald, choosing the safe choice of submissive, malleable less passionate woman over the sensitive, creative, energy consuming independent thinking woman who he really loves. Too much emotion and not enough real living for my tastes.
Corinne McNab
I bought this book purely out of vanity (My name is on the cover). I tried to read it, but nearly dislocated my jaw yawning. If anything, this was great for my insomnia. Maybe I'll pick it up again when I'm a little bit older, more of an intellectual, or just plan out of anything else to read.

Tara
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Gorgeous, sumptuous, dripping with equal parts irony and Romanticism. I wish I'd had this book to console me during my first breakup.
Sheila
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

My story of Corinne begins with my college experience of Literary Women, by Ellen Moers, and her dedication of an entire section to DeStael's book, entitled Performing Heroinism: The Myth of Corinne. I've finally, through the miracle of online publishing, been able to see for myself that which was so rigorously discussed in her book.

As a researcher, Moers found Madame DeStael's early-19th-century book to be an essential contribution to the history of western Europe's early female authors. She
...more
Sincerae
The very basic story line is Corinne who is the consummate artist, intellectual and the toast of Rome goes on an extended "date" with Lord Nelvil the indecisive whom Corinne feels understands her and is her equal. This date is a tour which covers several Italian cities. In the meantime they go to a few parties and fall in love.

Corinne, or Italy is both a romance and a collection of nostalgic ideas about the history of Italy's art, architecture, mythology, history, philosophy, religion, music,
...more
Laura McNeal
The Eat, Pray, Love of the Regency period. Go to Italy, it says, to be warm, to be healed, to fall in love. Fortunately, one of the people to whom it said that was Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who read it in 1832, when she was a 26-year-old invalid whose only true intellectual companion was an old blind Greek scholar who treated her so badly that he needs to be played by John Malkovich. To him she wrote, "I have read Corinne for the third time and admire it more than ever . . . it deserves to be ...more
Franziska Grech
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually give 5 stars to a book unless it speaks to me and has something remarkable about it. And this book gave me both. Madame de Stael's writing can go to different lengths. From portraying with extreme the character's inner turmoil to describing a monument or place with extreme detail in such a way that even your emotions towards the monument are evoked. Moreover her beauty in her writing also lies in her great wisdom of life, inserting passages in her story of great moral thought so ...more
Anna Varna
Very impressed and touched by this book. I read it in Greek translation. I think that the most important thing about it is how a woman of the early 19th century managed to write a novel where the protagonist is such an extraordinary woman. The only other examples I know of that era, are the English novels of Austen and the Brontes and their heroines, no matter how powerful they are, do not enjoy even the least of freedom Corinna does.
Michael
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanticism
Potential readers beware: the first 200-300 pages of Corinne are basically just a long travel guide to Italy, and particularly Rome. If you enjoy reading about all the antiquities of that fabled land, you may enjoy the long descriptions of columns and ruins and paintings and sculptures. But I think most readers find these pages pretty boring.

If you persist through, them, though, you will happen upon one of the most remarkable novels of the nineteenth century. Corinne, the heroine, is a woman of
...more
Amanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theresa
A book I would dearly have liked to edit--it would have been much better if it lost about half its length. I grew tired of waiting for the heroine to stop complaining about her lost love and die already (and the hero to stop fainting). However, I did read it for my research and not necessarily for entertainment.
Dangermousie
I think the book would have easily gained another star if only Lord Nelvil would shut up and wander off into a quiet corner to die. What Corinne ever saw in him escapes me.

Still, this is a very good example of an 18th/early 19th century novel and I happen to really like that sort of thing so three stars.
Shannon Stults
FINALLY!!!! I don't know when the last time it was that it took me over a month to read a book. Not a major fan of this book. The characters got on my nerves, the story was slow and the plot almost inexistant in the first half of the novel. I had to read this one for my 19th cent British lit class, and will probably never read it again!
Rebecca
Oct 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-reads
Blurgh. I honestly can't think of a single thing that I liked about this book. So slow as to be almost painful and the characters were ridiculous to a fault. Never have I wanted to throw a book against the wall so many times.
Federica
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Madame de Staël’s novel "Corinne, or Italy" (1807) is the story of a larger-than-life woman, an almost mythical creature that an entire people have raised as their national genius. The self-evident symbiosis between the two juxtaposed elements of the book’s title results in a definite gendered vision of Italy. “Look at her, she is the image of our beautiful Italy,” a noble theatrically presents Corinne the first time Lord Nelvil and the readers meet her. Corinne, with her raven hair and lively ...more
Skye
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a strange book-- very slow plot at first, but then really picks up, and is mostly about the beauty and customs of Italy. I definitely am glad I read it, but didn't exactly feel like reading it for the first 100 pages. It's a great companion to Portrait of a Lady, in that it's about the freedom British women felt in Italy (whether or not it actually was that way). I found myself underlining or circling phrases because of their poetry or interesting facts... It's very melodramatic and ...more
Valorie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emilia
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
much enjoyed story n translation, but long bits about Rome are hard work tho obviously significant etc
Isabella Clark ⚡️
Bit of a slog :( Oswald and Corrine’s relationship is all abit cliche but you can’t help getting sad when it comes to an end. I got far too emotionally invested in Oswald x
Prathyush Parasuraman
I have been told that this is a proto feminist novel, though navigating this character I could not understand how. Is it just by virtue of her instituting her own doom that she can be seen as an early incarnation of the modern feminist? This book is one of those where the melodrama plagues the context to a point where the novel is just stripped to its language and the gestures, it no more is about plot or trajectories. This is seen in the descriptions of geography that span chapters. Lord Nelvil ...more
Strawny
This book bugged me. I got tired of all the pontificating as (not so) veiled descriptions of Italy vs. England (Scotland really). I realize that this was the point of the book, but it was annoying to me all the same. The one thing of the book I appreciated was all the desciptions of Rome and Italy in general.
Katrina
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rather-enjoyed
A great story from start to finish. A perfect sketch of the careful situation of a 'powerful' woman who lives under the dictates of class and the behaviors of those who dare not alter the rules. Beautifully sad, evocative of the richness of life, and the struggle for love in death.
freya
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: second-year-uni
i don't know how to feel about this novel. it is certainly an accomplishment, but reading it was physically painful (seemed to give me a headache every time i picked it up)-- so so slow and incredibly frustrating.
Kathleen
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I mean...honestly Corrine. You could have done so much better than Oswald.

(This book describes Italian paintings a lot but has plenty of ~deeper meaning~ as per my prof)
Alex
Jan 26, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Found on this list of forgotten classics.
Laura
Apr 11, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dagny
Volume 1 (of 2)
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Rebecca
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Tragic tale of a genius whose brilliance expires when she's forsaken for a hot blonde.

*shakes fist at men*

Corrine's correct about the English. Their culture is a coffin.
Els
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will have to think this one through for a while, but as my rating shows, I loved it.
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Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein (22 April 1766 – 14 July 1817), commonly known as Madame de Staël, was a French woman of letters of Swiss origin whose lifetime overlapped with the events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. She was one of Napoleon's principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life ...more
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