Talented and resolutely independent, Marie d'Agoult (1805-76) was one of the most remarkable women of her time. Abandoning her privileged position in society, she eloped with her great love, the pianist and composer Franz Liszt, and later won fame as a writer under the penname Daniel Stern. She published fiction, articles on literature, music, art, and politics, and a history of the revolution of 1848, and she was an eloquent advocate for democracy, the eradication of poverty, and the emancipation of women.Drawing on her memoirs, letters, and other unpublished writings, Richard Bolster's engrossing biography sets Marie d'Agoult's eventful life against a backdrop of dramatic political change in France. Courted by many important figures of her day, she married a nobleman and became a member of the court of Charles X. Her passion for music eventually brought her into contact with Liszt, with whom she moved to Italy and had three children. After their idealistic romance degenerated into disenchantment, d'Agoult returned to Paris, began her writing career, and established a salon for artists, reformers, and freethinkers. Bolster explains how George Sand became d'Agoult's friend and then betrayed her by giving Balzac information about her affair with Liszt, which he used in his novelBéatrix.He concludes with a moving account of d'Agoult's last years.
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