Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein (French: [stal]; née Necker; 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. For many years she lived as an exile under the Reign of Terror and under Napoleonic persecution. Known as a witty and brilliant conversationalist, often dressed in flashy and revealing outfits, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. She was present at the first opening of the Estates General and at the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and witnessed the departure of the royal family from Versailles. Her intellectual collaboration with Benjamin Constant between 1795 and 1811 made them one of the most celebrated intellectual couples of their time. They discovered sooner than others the tyrannical character and designs of Napoleon. In 1814 one of her contemporaries observed that "there are three great powers struggling against Napoleon for the soul of Europe: England, Russia, and Madame de Staël". Her works, both novels and travel literature, with emphasis on passion, individuality and oppositional politics made their mark on European Romanticism. Personal freedom was evidently as important to her as abstract political liberties.Read about Madame de Stael in Wikipedia
It seems to me that life's circumstances, being ephemeral, teach us less about durable truths than the fictions based on those truths; and that the best lessons of delicacy and self-respect are to be found in novels where the feelings are so naturally portrayed that you fancy you are witnessing real life as you read.
Whatever efforts one may make, one must revert to the realization that religion is the real basis of morality; religion is the real and perceptible purpose within us, which alone, can turn aside our attention from things. . . . The science of morality can no more teach human beings to be honest, in all the magnificence of this word, than geometry can teach one how to draw.