By Dennis Wood

`For 40 years i've got defended a similar precept: freedom in every thing, in faith, in philosophy, in literature, in undefined, in politics - and by way of freedom I suggest the triumph of the individual.' consistent therefore summarized his ideals on the finish of his lifestyles. A political theorist and a passionate defender of person liberty, he was once additionally the writer of 1 of the best French novels of mental perception, Adolphe. In a huge new biography Dennis wooden strains the advance of continuing as a author centrally preoccupied with the problematics of freedom, not just within the fields of politics and non secular trust but additionally in his personal stricken dating with numerous ladies.

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Extra resources for Benjamin Constant: A Biography

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68 On each occasion the father who had proved so poor a judge of character in the first place was later forced to rescue his son from the consequences of his folly. But in the cases of Duplessis and Benjamin’s next tutor, the Englishman Nathaniel May, a curious complicity formed between father and son. Juste encouraged Benjamin to look down on the man he was employing to teach him. The problem seems to have been that Juste could never be content to leave his son without an image constantly before him of what he should become.

79 All Juste’s efforts to secure for his son the degree of personal attention that only a private tutor could give had now failed. Perhaps only May had achieved anything with Benjamin, but his obtuseness made him in the long term unsuitable in Juste’s eyes. Having avoided all educational institutions for so many years he was at last forced to The grief that does not speak 39 send Benjamin away from home. 80 The choice of this German university was the result of Juste’s chance meeting with the Protestant Margrave of Ansbach-Bayreuth, Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander (1736–1806), an amiable and cultured eccentric whose court was essentially French in outlook.

At Court Constant made his first and fateful acquaintaince with the pleasures of the gaming table. He also fought at least two duels,84 either with other young men at Margrave Alexander’s Court or with fellow-students at the University. 85 Ma Vie tells a very different story from what Juste would have wished. On the one hand Benjamin undoubtedly studied seriously for long periods while at Erlangen. But on the other he felt free at last to indulge in ‘mille extravagances’, many acts of folly, and to draw attention to himself he took, ostensibly as a mistress, a girl of doubtful reputation.

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