By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic ladies 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 grew to become 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 tremendous wealth she inherited from her mom, who died presently after Montpensier used to be born. She was once additionally one of many few politically robust girls in France on the time to were an comprehensive author. within the bold letters offered during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, featuring as an alternative to discovered a republic that she may 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 may have libraries and reviews, in order that each one lady could have a "room of her personal" within which to put in writing books. Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unheard of entry to the brave voice of this amazing lady.
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Additional resources for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)
19 20 La Grande Mademoiselle To reinforce her point that this is no longer the immediate post-Fronde era, Montpensier carefully dates two key letters, a decision that no longer seems noteworthy today but was just that in her day. The vast majority of the letters that have survived from the ﬁrst half of the seventeenth century are not dated; the years in which Montpensier began her correspondence mark the moment when dating letters began to be standard practice. That custom was part of a major shift in epistolary practice, away from what are known as public letters—missives intended from the start for publication, as part of letter manuals, as rhetorical exercises, or as contributions to a polemic (many political tracts printed during the Fronde took the form of letters, for example)—in the direction of the more private circulation of letters that we now take for granted.
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. And yet in the exalted cry with which Montpensier ends her third letter—“let there be a corner of the world in which it can be said that women are their own mistresses .
A year later the king had Lauzun arrested and imprisoned for ten years in a distant and gloomy fortress at Pignerol. ) 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.