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Delphine Gay was born in Aix-la-Chapelle (the French name for Aachen), the daughter of the French novelist Madame Sophie Gay, who raised her among a literary circle. In 1831, she married the journalist and politician Émile de Girardin -- some of her works are signed Madame Émile de Girardin. She hosted a well-known salon frequented by such luminaries as Théophile Gautier, Honoré de Balzac, Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Laure d'Abrantès, Alphonse de Lamartine, Jules Sandeau, Franz Liszt, Alexandre Dumas (père), and George Sand. Her wit and beauty were much appreciated by the Romantics. Delphine de Girardin wrote poetry, miscellanea, essays, novels, and plays. The entertaining, gossipy columns on fashions, literary events, and political happenings and other contemporary topics that she contributed weekly to her husband's newspaper La Presse from 1836 to 1839 were hugely popular and made her one of France's first major female journalists. The columns later were collected and published in book form under the title of Lettres parisiennes (1843). She published under various noms de plume, including Charles de Launay, Vicomte Delaunay, and Léo Lespès.
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