A book for the literary scholar rather than the general biography reader, this story of Benjamin Constant, writer, politician and liberal, who moved in the intellectual world of the 18-19th centuries. It is a painstaking coverage of the influence of his family, particularly his father and his experimental ideas of education, of his courage and self-imposed passions, of his feckless, inconsequential life. There are his important attachments- to Madame de Charriere, Madame de Stael, Madame Recamier; there is his wife, Charlotte, to whom he turned when he escaped de Stael; there is his part in Bonaparte's regimes and, in his later life, in the liberal world. It shows in detail the importance of people on him, of his enslavement to de Stael, to gambling; it proves his clarity of intellect and traces the inconsistencies and alternations in his careers, the impossibility of complete integration of personality. It provides an examination for the serious student of historical periods.