Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Elective affinities

I can't quite explain why this paragraph in Biancamaria Fontana's TLS review of a new joint biography of Benjamin Constant and Germaine de Stael should have cracked me up, but it did:
There is enough evidence to suggest that they were from the start emotionally and sexually unsuited to one another. For one thing, neither was the other’s type: she liked grand aristocrats with virile, military looks and stylish manners; he favoured simpering sentimental beauties or, failing that, compliant young prostitutes. She loved company and managed to produce an impressive volume of publications while leading an exhaustingly busy social life. He needed calm and solitude to concentrate on his never-completed works, and longed for domestic peace and country retreats. He found her possessive, excessively demanding and sexually uninteresting; she accused him of being disloyal and ungrateful. They were only united in their shared taste for dramatic scenes, rivalling each other in the display of floods of tears, hysterics, fainting fits and suicide threats.


  1. Methinks it's because, openly or not, you're a Powellian. It's a pairing he would have loved, if he hadn't actually invented it himself.

  2. I'm so pleased that you are reading the TLS, not watching the RNC.