Student or Learner
I read these from True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth:
"Germaine de Stael...was one of the few who took the glorious ideas behind the Age of Reason to their logical conclusion. She welcomed democracy."
What does "took ... to..." mean in this sentence?
"I am sitting in the all-male cafe with a broad and goofy grin across my face, and the fat copy of Corinne or Italy page down on my lap."
Does "fat" imply that this book is very thick? What does "page down" mean?
"Napoleon suffers in lonely exile...His faithful Josephine is dead, passing away sweetly in 1814."
Why "sweetly"? Shouldn't it be bitterly instead?
"I seek out the grave of Germaine de Stael's lover Benjamin Constant. In Arduis Constans is carved on the tombstone. Constance in adversity. No doubt the motto is intended to signify a whole life, but I bet everyone who knew him thought it was an apt description of Constant's love affair with Germaine de Stael."
Does "Constance" refer to Benjamin Constant? What does "Constance in adversity" mean? Why is it a motto intended to signify a whole life?