By Dennis Wood
`For 40 years i've got defended a similar precept: freedom in every little thing, in faith, in philosophy, in literature, in undefined, in politics - and by means of freedom I suggest the triumph of the individual.' consistent therefore summarized his ideals on the finish of his existence. A political theorist and a passionate defender of person liberty, he used to be additionally the writer of 1 of the best French novels of mental perception, Adolphe. In an immense new biography Dennis wooden lines the improvement of continuous as a author centrally preoccupied with the problematics of freedom, not just within the fields of politics and non secular trust but in addition in his personal afflicted dating with numerous ladies.
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Extra info for Benjamin Constant: A Biography
Soon afterwards Juste took Benjamin with him to Edinburgh so that he could begin his studies once more, in a different and, he hoped, more suitable environment. It was to prove a fateful and—for once—farsightedly wise decision on Juste’s part. The grief that does not speak 41 Writing some fifty years nearer to Benjamin Constant’s lifetime than Gustave Rudler, and drawing on the personal memories of Constant’s contemporaries, Edouard Laboulaye records in 1861 that Constant never knew the love of a mother and was unable to find that warmth in his relationship with Juste.
One could add that according to the Freudian principle of Verneinung—denial, the absence of a thing implies desire for it. And Marianne Magnin is totally and inexplicably absent from Ma Vie. But there were other important factors involved in Constant’s feelings about Marianne, of which the most notable was money. Marianne succeeded over the years in diverting a large proportion of Juste de Constant’s remaining wealth away from Benjamin and towards herself and her children. If we are to believe Gustave Rudler, Benjamin Constant inherited from his Chandieu ancestors an acute concern about money matters,52 and his fury at seeing his own birthright constantly dwindling is not hard to imagine.
I was very aware of his right to my gratitude and respect. But we had never taken each other into our confidence. He had an ironic turn of mind which did not suit my own character. At that age all I wanted to do was abandon myself completely to primitive and passionate feelings which transport the individual beyond the common realm of everyday experience, and which inspire only disdain for the people and things around one. I found in my father not a severe critic but an unemotional observer who was given to making caustic remarks, a man who would begin a conversation with a pitying smile on his face and soon after would be impatient to end it as quickly as possible.
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