Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande by Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De

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

In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic ladies have been valued by way of their households as commodities to be married off in trade for cash, 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 great wealth she inherited from her mom, who died presently after Montpensier was once born. She used to be additionally one of many few politically strong ladies in France on the time to were an entire author. within the bold letters provided during this bilingual version, Montpensier condemns the alliance procedure of marriage, providing in its place to discovered a republic that she might govern, "a nook of the realm within which . . . girls are their very own mistresses," and the place marriage or even courtship will be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would offer treatment and vocational education for the bad, and the entire houses might have libraries and reviews, in order that every one girl might have a "room of her personal" during which to jot down books. Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and obtainable translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us extraordinary entry to the brave voice of this awesome lady.

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Extra info for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)

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1–2 (spring–summer 1975): 79–104. 11 12 La Grande Mademoiselle official notification of that difference with her decision to leave the court again soon thereafter, this time of her own volition, for another of her estates, Champigny-sur-Veude. There, she turned her attention once again to literary pursuits: she began work on a project she later continued at SaintFargeau, a collective volume entitled Divers portraits, that she had privately published in January 1659. Divers portraits gathers together fifty-nine verbal portraits and selfportraits, of which Montpensier herself contributed seventeen: these are biographical and autobiographical explorations of the most famous court figures of the day.

With Charles Stuart, we have the first example of a phenomenon recurrent during the next years of Montpensier’s life: the match did not come off because she herself was against it. She quickly understood the attraction of her immense wealth for an impoverished exile dreaming of recapturing the English throne. She just as quickly concluded that the cost of that dream might prove prohibitive, that the carefully accumulated Montpensier assets could well be decimated in the process. In this way, the notion of personally taking control over her fate first became a reality for Montpensier.

Nothing signals that orality more clearly than the manuscript’s punctuation. Both women favor the long, loose sentences typical of the French prose of their day. Readers today, who know seventeenthcentury prose only from modern editions—all of which radically modernize its punctuation—may be surprised by their sentences. 17 In the self-portrait she contributed to the portrait collection she edited in 1659, Montpensier remarks, “I write well, freely 17. For an explanation of why many editors are now reproducing the use of capitals in early modern publications, see Roger Chartier, Publishing Drama in Early Modern Europe (London: British Museum, 1999), 20.

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