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

In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic girls have been valued through their households as commodities to be married off in alternate for funds, social virtue, or army alliance. as soon as married, they grew to become legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier—a first cousin of Louis XIV—was certainly one of only a few exceptions, because of the sizeable 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 entire writer.

In the bold letters awarded during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, offering as a substitute to stumbled on a republic that she might govern, "a nook of the realm during which . . . ladies are their very own mistresses," and the place marriage or even courtship will be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would supply therapy and vocational education for the bad, and the entire houses could have libraries and reports, in order that each one lady may have a "room of her personal" during which to jot down books.

Joan DeJean's full of life advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unparalleled entry to the brave voice of this outstanding woman.

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

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On the amplitude and the consequences of this phenomenon, see 41–55, 138–70. Patricia Cholakian very convincingly studies Montpensier’s involvement with Lauzun as a classic example of the scenario documented by Lougee, in Women and the Politics of Self-Representation in Seventeenth-Century France (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2000), 79–80. On the vision of women as working to corrupt the traditional values of French society, see my Tender Geographies, chapter 4. La Grande Mademoiselle on December 15, 1670, and Montpensier had already begun, on December 17, the process of raising Lauzun to a more appropriate rank by transferring some of her titles to his name, when her cousin changed his mind and, on December 18, rescinded his permission.

In her discussion of this correspondence’s genesis in her memoirs, however, Montpensier—whose long political exile after the Fronde was still fresh in her mind in 1660 —makes it clear that she means a voluntary decision to leave the court, rather than an officially decreed departure, so I chose a translation with a harder edge. 27 28 Montpensier-Motteville Correspondance qu’il l’aurait été de s’y être toujours montré insensible.

For this edition I followed the text of a manuscript recently acquired by the Bibliothèque nationale de France: NAF 25670. The manuscript gives a version of the first four letters substantially different from that found in earlier editions. Furthermore, the manuscript contains the text of four additional letters, published here for the first time. We know that the correspondence as published in the 1667 edition was incomplete: in her Mémoires Montpensier says that they exchanged letters “for a year or two” (C.

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