1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Agoult, Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse d'

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1
Agoult, Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse d'
1236401911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1 — Agoult, Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse d'

AGOULT, MARIE CATHERINE SOPHIE DE FLAVIGNY, Comtesse d’ (1805–1876), French author, whose nom de plume was “Daniel Stern,” was born at Frankfort-on-Main on the 31st of December 1805. Her father was a French officer who had served in the army of the emigrant princes, and her mother was the daughter of a Frankfort banker. She was married in 1827 to the comte Charles d’Agoult. In Paris she gathered round her a brilliant society which included Alfred de Vigny, Sainte-Beuve, Ingres, Chopin, Meyerbeer, Heine and others. She was separated from her husband, and became the mistress of Franz Liszt. During her frequent travels in Switzerland, France and Italy she made the acquaintance of George Sand, and figures in the Lettres d’un voyageur as “Arabella.” By Liszt she had three children—a son who died young; Blandine, who married M. Émile Ollivier; and Cosima, who married first Hans von Bülow and later Richard Wagner. The story of her breach with Liszt is told under a very slight disguise in her novel Nélida (1845). On her return to Paris in 1841 she began to write art criticisms for the Presse, and in 1844 she contributed to the Revue des deux Mondes articles on Bettina von Arnim and on Heinrich Heine, but her views were not acceptable to the editor, and Daniel Stern withdrew to become a contributor to the Revue indépendante. Mme. d’Agoult was an ardent apostle of the ideas of ’48, and from this date her salon, which had been literary and artistic, took on a more political tone; revolutionists of various nationalities were welcomed by her, and she had an especial friendship and sympathy for Daniele Manin. In 1857 she produced a national drama, Jeanne Darc, which was translated into Italian and presented with brilliant success at Turin. The most important section of Daniel Stern’s work is her political and historical essays: Lettres républicaines (1848), Esquisses morales et politiques (1849), Histoire de la Révolution de 1848 (3 vols., 1850–1853), Histoire des commencements de la République aux Pays-Bas (1872). Mme. d’Agoult died in Paris on the 5th of March 1876. Her daughter Claire Christine (b. 1830), who married Guy de Charnacé, is known as a writer.

See Mme. d’Agoult, Mes Souvenirs (1806–1833), 1877; A. Cuvillier Fleury, Portraits révolutionnaires, vol. i. (1889); J. Mazzini, Lettres de Joseph Mazzini a Daniel Stern (1872): A. Pommier, Madame la comtesse d’Agoult (Daniel Stern), 1876; A. Ungherini, “Daniel Stern” in the Revista republicana (1880, No. 9); S. Rocheblave, Une Amitié romanesque, George Sand et Madame d’Agoult (1895).