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 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 huge wealth she inherited from her mom, who died almost immediately after Montpensier used to be born. She was once additionally one of many few politically strong ladies in France on the time to were an finished author. within the bold letters provided during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance process of marriage, presenting 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 remedy and vocational education for the negative, and all of the houses might have libraries and reports, in order that every one lady may have a "room of her personal" during which to write down books. Joan DeJean's energetic advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us exceptional entry to the brave voice of this striking girl.
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Extra info for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)
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. On the manner in which the original punctuation of seventeenth-century prose contributes to its oral quality, see Bernard Bray’s edition of Tristan L’Hermite’s Œuvres complètes (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1999), 1 : 70. ” I made very few changes in the original punctuation; they are indicated by means of brackets.
The king could not have foreseen that Lauzun’s captivity would provide in the long run the solution to the problem so many had been seeking to solve for so long, that of gaining control over Montpensier’s lands. In order to ransom him, she was forced to give up huge territories—in particular, the earldom of Eu and Dombes, an independent principality that ofﬁcially became a part of France only in 1762, which she was obliged to sign over to the duc du Maine, the illegitimate son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan.
All the residences in her republic were to contain both libraries and studies, places in which literary creation could take place. She was sure, moreover, that this would be the case: “I have no doubt that we would have among us some who would also write books,” she announces in her ﬁrst letter (see p. 31). 15 It is, of course, in a way impossible to compare the sense of economic reality possessed by the wealthiest woman in Europe with Woolf’s modest dreams of a private room and sufﬁcient funds to scrape by on.