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FrRevol_001-050.indd 3 3/16/12 1:01 PM Notice by the Editors! In executing the task which Madame de Stael has condescended to confide to us, it is our particular duty to make known the exact condition in which we found the manuscript entrusted to our care. Madame de Stael had traced out for all her compositions a system of labor from which she neverdeviated. She sketched offat once the complete outline ofthe work ofwhich she had previously conceived the plan, without referring back, without interrupting the course ofher thoughts, unless it were to make researches which her subject rendered necessary. This first composition completed, Madame de Stael transcribed it entire with her own hand; and then, not concerning herself with the correction of the style, she modified the expression of her ideas, classing them frequently in a new order. This second performance was then fairly copied out by a secretary, and it was only on this second copy, often even on the proofs of the printed sheets, that Madame de Stael completed the niceties ofher diction; being more anxious to convey to her readers all the shades ofher thoughts, all the emotions of her soul, than to attain that minute correctness , which may be acquired by mere mechanical labor. Madame de Stael had completed, early in 1816, the composition ofthe work we now present to the public. She had devoted a whole year to the revisal of the first two volumes, and a part of the third. She returned to Paris to complete those passages relating to recent events of which she had not been personally a witness, and upon which more precise inquiries might have the effect of modifying some of her opinions. In short, the Considerations on the Principal Events ofthe French Revolution (for such is the title chosen by Madame de Stael herself) would have appeared at the 1. The two editors were Victor de Broglie and Auguste de Stael. They were assisted by August Wilhelm von Schlegel, the former teacher ofAuguste and close friend ofGermaine de Stael. 3 FrRevol_001-050.indd 4 3/16/12 1:01 PM NOTIC E BY THE EDITORS conclusion oflast year ifshe, who constituted our glory and our happiness, had been preserved to us. The first two volumes and several chapters of the third were found in the state in which they were intended for the press. Some other chapters were transcribed but not revised by the Author; but others were only composed in the outline, with marginal notes written or dictated by Madame de Stael, indicating the points on which she proposed to dilate. The first feeling, as the first duty of her children, has been to evince the most sacred respect for the slightest indications of her thoughts; and it is almost superfluous to say that we have permitted ourselves to make not only no addition, but no change, and that the work about to be read is perfectly conformable to the corrected manuscript of Madame de Stael. The labor of the Editors has been therefore confined entirely to the revisal of the proofs, and to the correction of those slight inaccuracies of style which escape observation even in manuscripts the most carefully revised. This has been performed under the eye of M. A. W. de Schlegel, whose rare superiority ofparts and knowledge justifies the confidence with which Madame de Stael consulted him in all her literary labors, as his most honorable character merits the esteem and friendship which she constantly entertained for him during an intimacy of thirteen years. Mr. de Stael hereafter proposes to fulfill intentions most sacred to him in publishing a complete edition of the works of his mother, and of those ofMr. Necker. The works ofMadame de Stael will comprise some inedited compositions; amongst others, the fragments of a work begun under the title Ten Years ofExile. A Biographical Notice will precede each collection; but a feeling, which those who knew Madame de Stael will appreciate with indulgence, has not yet permitted her children to commence an undertaking which comes so home to their dearest as to their most sorrowful recollections. 4 ...


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