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 girls have been valued via 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 among only a few exceptions, because of the large wealth she inherited from her mom, who died presently after Montpensier was once born. She used to be additionally one of many few politically robust ladies in France on the time to were an comprehensive writer.

In the bold letters awarded during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, presenting as an alternative to came upon 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 supply therapy and vocational education for the terrible, and all of the houses might have libraries and reports, in order that every one girl could have a "room of her personal" within which to put in writing 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Joan DeJean's full of life advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unparalleled entry to the brave voice of this amazing woman.

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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appropriate rank by transferring some of her titles to his name, when her cousin changed his mind and, on December 18, rescinded his permission.

A woman who had the family connections and the financial assets necessary to enable her parents to negotiate a marriage on her behalf was obliged to accept their proposition—no matter how unappealing she found the man who had been selected for her. 3. Once married, the woman’s life became, in legal terms, completely subservient to that of her husband. If she had any intellectual or artistic aspirations, she forgot them: a truly remarkable number of women writers were publishing in seventeenth-century France; not one of them managed to do so while maintaining a traditional marriage.

Otherwise, I tried to preserve as much of the rhythm of their exchange as possible. 18. : Doubleday, 1959), 177–78. Christian Bouyer gives the French text in a recent reedition of part of her portrait collection: Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, Portraits littéraires, ed. Christian Bouyer (Paris: Séguier, 2000), 23–27. See Cholakian, Women and the Politics of Self-Representation, 67, for a discussion of the “conversational style” of the autograph manuscript of Montpensier’s Mémoires and the manner in which this style was made more conventional in the manuscript as recopied by her secretary.

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