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date: 22 August 2019

Belle van Zuylen [née Tuyll van Serooskerken, Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van ]locked

  • Marius Flothuis

Extract

[née Tuyll van Serooskerken, Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van ]

(b Zuylen castle, nr Utrecht, Oct 20, 1740; d Colombier, Switzerland, Dec 26, 1805). Dutch writer and composer. From 1771 she lived in Switzerland with her husband Charles-Emmanuel de Charrière de Penthaz. She is remembered especially for her extensive, witty and often caustic correspondence with James Boswell, Benjamin Constant, Germaine de Staël and others (see M. Flothuis: ‘An Unexpected Source of Musical Information: the Correspondence of Belle van Zuylen (1740–1805)’, FAM, xxvii (1980), 33–6; xxviii (1981), 145 only) and also for her novels, plays and pamphlets, all (including the letters) written in French. She was educated by a Swiss governess, Jeanne Prévost, with whom she continued to correspond for several years; only the letters of Mme Prévost have survived. Music played an important role in her career, as was usual in noble families of the time. As early as 1764 she expressed a desire to study composition with Rameau, but he died the same year. In ...

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