Marie d'Agoult

Marie Cathérine Sophie, Comtesse d'Agoult (née de Flavigny; 31 December 1805 – 5 March 1876), was a French romantic author and historian, known also by her pen name, Daniel Stern.[1]

Marie d'Agoult
Marie d'Agoult (1843), painting by Henri Lehmann.
Marie d'Agoult (1843), painting by Henri Lehmann.
BornMarie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny
(1805-12-31)31 December 1805
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died5 May 1876(1876-05-05) (aged 70)
Paris, France
Resting placePère Lachaise Cemetery
Pen nameDaniel Stern
Charles Louis Constant d'Agoult, Comte d'Agoult
(m. 1827; sep. 1835)
PartnerFranz Liszt (1835–1839)
Children5, including Cosima


Marie was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany,[2] with the full name of Marie Cathérine Sophie de Flavigny, the daughter of Alexandre Victor François, Vicomte de Flavigny (1770–1819), a footloose émigré French aristocrat, and his wife Maria Elisabeth Bethmann (1772–1847), a German banker's daughter. The young Marie spent her early years in Germany and completed her education in a French convent after the Bourbon Restoration.

She entered into an early marriage of convenience with Charles Louis Constant d'Agoult, Comte d'Agoult (1790–1875) on 16 May 1827, thereby becoming the Comtesse d'Agoult. They had two daughters, Louise (1828–1834) and Claire (1830–1912). Marie never divorced the count, even though she had left him for Franz Liszt.

From 1835 to 1839, she lived with composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt, who was six years younger, and was then a rising concert star. She became close to Liszt's circle of friends, including Frédéric Chopin, who dedicated his 12 Études, Op. 25 to her (his earlier set of 12 Études, Op. 10 had been dedicated to Liszt). Liszt's "Die Lorelei", one of his very first pieces, based on text by Heinrich Heine, was also dedicated to her.

From summer 1837 until autumn 1839 they travelled to Italy and Switzerland, staying successively in Bellagio, Milan, Venice, Lugano, Modena, Florence, Bologna and Rome. It was these travels that inspired the composer to write his cycle of piano collections entitled Années de pèlerinage.[3][4]

D'Agoult had three children with Liszt; however, she and Liszt did not marry, maintaining their independent views and other differences while Liszt was busy composing and touring throughout Europe.

Portrait of d'Agoult by Théodore Chassériau (Musée du Louvre)

Her children with Liszt were:

In 1876, she died in Paris, aged 70, and was buried in Division 54 of Père Lachaise Cemetery.


d'Agoult in 1861. Photo by Adam-Salomon.
  • Her first stories (Hervé, Julien, and Valentia), published 1841–1845
  • Histoire de la révolution de 1848 (appearing from 1850 to 1853, in 3 volumes), her best known work published under the name Daniel Stern[5]
  • Nélida, a novel (1846)[6]
  • Lettres Républicaines in Esquisses morales et politiques (1849, collected articles)[7]
  • Trois journées de la vie de Marie Stuart (1856)
  • Florence et Turin (1862)
  • Histoire des commencements de la république aux Pays-Bas (1872)
  • A Catholic Mother Speaks to Her Children (1906, posthumously)[8]
  • Mes souvenirs (1877, posthumously).
  • Correspondence with Liszt[9]


  1. ^ Bolster, Richard (1 October 2008). Marie d'Agoult: The Rebel Countess. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-13768-2.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agoult, Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse d'. Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 381.
  3. ^ Liszt, Franz (1978). Années de pèlerinage: Deuxième année, Italie (in English, German, and French). Ernst Herttrich, Hans-Martin Theopold. München: Henle. pp. III. ISMN 979-0-2018-0174-2. OCLC 4906095.
  4. ^ Liszt, Franz (2020). Jost, Peter (ed.). "Années de pèlerinage, Première Année - Suisse". G. Henle Verlag. p. V, VI. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  5. ^ Stern, Daniel (1985) [First published 1851]. Histoire de la révolution de 1848. Balland. ISBN 2-7158-0500-4.
  6. ^ d'Agoult, Marie (2003) [First published 1846]. Nélida. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-5912-8.
  7. ^ Stern, Daniel (1859). Esquisses morales; pensées, réflexions et maximes. J. Techener.
  8. ^ A Catholic Mother Speaks to Her Children, De Flavigny, Marie. Catholic Encyclopedia, New Haven, Connecticut, 1906, Outskirts Press. 2011 edition
  9. ^ Gut, Serge; Bellas, Jacqueline, eds. (2001). Franz Liszt – Marie d'Agoult, Correspondance (in French). Paris: Fayard. ISBN 2-213-61010-X.
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