Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, was a French woman of letters and historian of Genevan origin whose lifetime overlapped with the events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. For many years she lived as an exile under the Reign of Terror and under Napoleonic persecution. Known as a witty and brilliant conversationalist, often dressed in flashy and revealing outfits, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. She was present at the first opening of the Estates General and at the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Her intellectual collaboration with Benjamin Constant between 1795 and 1811 made them one of the most celebrated intellectual couples of their time. They discovered sooner than others the tyrannical character and designs of Napoleon. In 1814 one of her contemporaries observed that "there are three great powers struggling against Napoleon for the soul of Europe: England, Russia, and Madame de Staël". Her works, both novels and travel literature, with emphasis on passion, individuality and oppositional politics made their mark on European Romanticism.