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

In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic ladies 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 turned legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier—a first cousin of Louis XIV—was one among only a few exceptions, due to the gigantic wealth she inherited from her mom, who died presently after Montpensier used to be born. She was once additionally one of many few politically strong girls in France on the time to were an comprehensive author. within the bold letters offered during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance process of marriage, offering in its place to discovered a republic that she could 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 remedy and vocational education for the negative, and all of the houses might have libraries and reports, in order that every one girl may 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 Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and obtainable translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us extraordinary entry to the brave voice of this remarkable girl.

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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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Motteville answered, and they continued to exchange letters “over the next year or two” and to develop their plan to establish a community in which a group of noblemen and, above all, noblewomen would live together, “free from the weariness [today we might say ‘burnout’] of life at court,” creating a world in which marriage and even courtship were banned (C. 3:452–54, P. 42:490 – 91, B. 2:146– 47). From their letters we learn that what Montpensier called “solitude” meant not living alone, but living away from the court, while “to live for oneself” signified that one had decided not to marry.

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.

Montpensier returned to the court definitively in 1664, although she was never again as active a participant in its life as she had once been. At this point, Montpensier seemed destined to live out her life just as she wanted, according to the dreams laid out in the correspondence published 13 14 La Grande Mademoiselle in this volume. Then, suddenly in 1670, the unthinkable happened: Mademoiselle, La Grande Mademoiselle, the king’s first cousin and the wealthiest woman in France—fell in love. In her case, love appears to have been even more than usually blind.

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