1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Girardin, Delphine de

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GIRARDIN, DELPHINE DE (1804–1855), French author, was born at Aix-la-Chapelle on the 26th of January 1804. Her mother, the well-known Madame Sophie Gay, brought her up in the midst of a brilliant literary society. She published two volumes of miscellaneous pieces, Essais poétiques (1824) and Nouveaux Essais poétiques (1825). A visit to Italy in 1827, during which she was enthusiastically welcomed by the literati of Rome and even crowned in the capitol, was productive of various poems, of which the most ambitious was Napoline (1833). Her marriage in 1831 to Émile de Girardin (see below) opened up a new literary career. The contemporary sketches which she contributed from 1836 to 1839 to the feuilleton of La Presse, under the nom de plume of Charles de Launay, were collected under the title of Lettres parisiennes (1843), and obtained a brilliant success. Contes d’une vieille fille à ses neveux (1832), La Canne de Monsieur de Balzac (1836) and Il ne faut pas jouer avec la douleur (1853) are among the best-known of her romances; and her dramatic pieces in prose and verse include L’École des journalistes (1840), Judith (1843), Cléopâtre (1847), Lady Tartufe (1853), and the one-act comedies, C’est la faute du mari (1851), La Joie fait peur (1854), Le Chapeau d’un horloger (1854) and Une Femme qui déteste son mari, which did not appear till after the author’s death. In the literary society of her time Madame Girardin exercised no small personal influence, and among the frequenters of her drawing-room were Théophile Gautier and Balzac, Alfred de Musset and Victor Hugo. She died on the 29th of June 1855. Her collected works were published in six volumes (1860–1861).

See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, t. iii.; G. de Molènes, “Les Femmes poètes,” in Revue des deux mondes (July 1842); Taxile Delord, Les Matinées littéraires (1860); L’Esprit de Madame Girardin, avec une préface par M. Lamartine (1862); G. d’Heilly, Madame de Girardin, sa vie et ses œuvres (1868); Imbert de Saint Amand, Mme de Girardin (1875).