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Marie Catherine Sophie, Comtesse d'Agoult (31 December 1805 – 5 March 1876), was a Franco-German romantic author and historian, known also by her pen name, Daniel Stern.

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
Died5 May 1876(1876-05-05) (aged 70)
Paris, France
Resting placePère Lachaise Cemetery
Pen nameDaniel Stern
SpouseCharles Louis Constant d'Agoult, Comte d'Agoult
PartnerFranz Liszt
Children3, including Cosima

LifeEdit

Marie was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, the daughter of Alexander 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 virtuoso pianist and composer 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 songs, based on text by Heinrich Heine, was also dedicated to her. 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 de Marie d'Agoult par Théodore Chassériau (Musée du Louvre)

Family Her children were:

  • Blandine (1835–1862), who was the first wife of future French prime minister Émile Ollivier but died at the age of 26
  • Cosima (1837–1930), who first married pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow and then composer Richard Wagner
  • Daniel (1839–1859), who was already a promising pianist and gifted scholar when he died of tuberculosis.

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

WorksEdit

 
d'Agoult in 1861. Photo by Adam-Salomon.

Her first stories (Hervé, Julien, and Valentia) were published in 1841-1845. Her best-known work (written as "Daniel Stern") is the Histoire de la révolution de 1848 (appearing from 1850–53, in 3 volumes). D'Agoult's other works include the novel Nélida (1846), Lettres Républicaines in Esquisses morales et politiques (1849, collected articles), 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), and Mes souvenirs (1877, posthumously).

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Cronin, Vincent. Four Women in Pursuit of an Ideal. London: Collins, 1965; also published as The Romantic Way. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.
  • Stock-Morton, Phyllis. The life of Marie d'Agoult, alias Daniel Stern. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8018-6313-9.

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