Please obey the copyright laws of your country. IMSLP does not assume any sort of legal responsibility or liability for the consequences of downloading files that are not in the public domain in your country. 395684 includes English translation of preface. This extract commences at bar 460. French socialite, whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century.
A native of Lyon, and known as Juliette, Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard was the only child of Jean Bernard, the King’s counsellor and a notary, and his wife, the former Marie Julie Matton. Her father became, in 1784, the receiver of finance. 30 years her senior and a relative of the gourmet Brillat-Savarin. A rumour arose that he was in fact her natural father who married her to make her his heir. Although many of her biographers have given credence to this, it is unproven, and discounted by some historians.
The Récamier marriage was never consummated, and Juliette remained a virgin until at least the age of forty. A rumour was initiated by Prosper Mérimée that Mme Récamier suffered from a physical condition which made the act of sex painful. Juliette Récamier never lost her attractiveness, though at least one man who met her, artist Guillaume Gavarni, said that she “stank of the lower middle class”. Beautiful, accomplished, and with a love of literature, Juliette was shy and modest by nature. From the earliest days of the French Consulate to almost the end of the July Monarchy, her salon in Paris was one of the chief resorts of literary and political society that followed what was fashionable.
It was through Mme de Staël that Mme Récamier became acquainted with Benjamin Constant, whose political equivocations during the last days of the Empire and the first of the Restoration have been attributed to her persuasions. Her husband had sustained heavy financial losses in 1805, and she visited Mme de Staël at Coppet in Switzerland. There was a project for her divorce, in order that she might marry Prince Augustus of Prussia, but, though her husband was willing, it was not arranged. In 1859, Souvenirs et correspondances tirés des papiers de Madame Récamier was edited by Madame Lenormant.