New PDF release: Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande

By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier

In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic ladies have been valued via their households as commodities to be married off in trade for funds, social virtue, or army alliance. as soon as married, they turned legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier—a first cousin of Louis XIV—was one in every of only a few exceptions, due to the gigantic wealth she inherited from her mom, who died almost immediately after Montpensier was once born. She used to be additionally one of many few politically robust girls in France on the time to were an complete writer.

In the bold letters offered during this bilingual version, Montpensier condemns the alliance process of marriage, providing in its place to chanced on a republic that she could govern, "a nook of the realm within which . . . ladies are their very own mistresses," and the place marriage or even courtship will be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would offer remedy and vocational education for the negative, and the entire houses could have libraries and reports, in order that each one girl could have a "room of her personal" during which to jot down books.

Joan DeJean's energetic creation and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us exceptional entry to the brave voice of this amazing woman.

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Extra info for Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande Mademoiselle

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A number of those published in these compilations were, like La Rochefoucauld, former leaders of the Fronde; others were, like Sévigné and Lafayette, members of frondeur families. When Montpensier launched the vogue for literary portraiture, it was as if she were indicating a redeployment of forces: those who had formerly actively participated in court politics would now pay written testimony to the psychology of their age. While the portrait collections were still appearing, for the first time since her exile, Montpensier was called upon to take an active role in court life.

Montpensier chose as the site of her exile one of her properties she had never before laid eyes on, the château at Saint-Fargeau. The years she spent in compulsory isolation from the place those of her rank considered the cen- La Grande Mademoiselle Fig. 2. Portrait of Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, holding the portrait of her father (1672). Pierre Bourguignon. Versailles, Musée national du Château et des Trianons. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux /Art Resource, NY. ter of the universe were hardly wasted: she developed new interests, architecture in particular, when she had the dilapidated château remodeled to her specifications.

And when great wealth and extensive property were added to the equation, such a marriage became truly an affair of state. In seventeenth-century France, at the moment when the Bourbon monarchy was moving ever closer to absolutism, Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, was without rival as a marital commodity. To begin with, her lineage was the most noble of any contemporary French princess: she was the granddaughter of Henri IV and the daughter of Gaston d’Orléans, the brother of Louis XIII.

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