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The pleasure of not being there

Peter Brooks, 18 November 1993

Benjamin Constant: A Biography 
by Dennis Wood.
Routledge, 321 pp., £40, June 1993, 0 415 01937 0
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Isabelle de Charrière (Belle de Zuylen): A Biography 
by C.P Courtney.
Voltaire Foundation, 810 pp., £49, August 1993, 0 7294 0439 0
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... in a tempestuous on-again, off-again affair for some 12 years. How to tell the grand lady of Coppet what he had done – and how to stage manage the scene that was bound to ensue? He spent most of the summer of 1808 visiting Madame de Staël in Coppet – where she held court during her banishment from Paris by ...

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