By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic girls have been valued by means 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 considered one of only a few exceptions, because of the giant 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 comprehensive author. within the bold letters awarded during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance procedure of marriage, offering as an alternative to chanced on a republic that she might govern, "a nook of the realm during 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 stories, in order that each one lady may have a "room of her personal" within which to jot down books. Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and obtainable translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us exceptional entry to the brave voice of this amazing girl.
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Additional info for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)
2:147). 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.
Motteville remained in her service, gathering all the while ﬁrsthand information on the intrigues of the court, until the queen’s death in 1666. From then until her own death in 1689, she lived very quietly in Paris, without contact with the world of inﬂuence in which she had spent her entire early life. Of those years we know little, other than that she kept up friendships with literary women, in particular Sévigné and Lafayette. 8 Motteville also had her own reasons for sharing Montpensier’s other aversion, to life at court: she and her mother had been sent away from court 8.
Montpensier concludes that “she should never have married” (C. 3:452, P. 42:489, B. 2:146). During the protracted wedding festivities, the royal ﬁrst cousin thus played a double role: in public, she was a key member of the French delegation, acting out every move of the complicated ceremonial role expected of her, at the same time as, in private, she was penning a violent protest against the institution of marriage as it functioned in her day. In the aftermath of his marriage, Louis XIV set about ﬁrming up his control over his kingdom.