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TocquevilleThe Aristocratic Sources of Liberty$
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Lucien Jaume

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152042.001.0001

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Tocqueville in the Debate about Literature and Society

Tocqueville in the Debate about Literature and Society

(p.226) 11 Tocqueville in the Debate about Literature and Society

Lucien Jaume

, Arthur Goldhammer
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers Mme de Staë's influence on Tocqueville's work. In De la littérature Mme de Staë contrasted the two types of society and their respective norms. She laid the groundwork for an idea that Tocqueville made his own: that there is a “democratic” literature that can and should be studied sociologically—or, as Mme de Staël put it, that should be examined “in its relations with social institutions.” Tocqueville's strength lay in the way in which he combined the contribution of two major works of the day, which deeply influenced the romantic sensibility yet managed to turn their message against Romanticism.

Keywords:   Alexis de Tocqueville, Mme de Staë, democratic literature, society, Romanticism

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