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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 by means 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 one among only a few exceptions, due to the significant wealth she inherited from her mom, who died almost immediately after Montpensier was once 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 provided during this bilingual version, Montpensier condemns the alliance approach of marriage, providing in its place to stumbled on a republic that she could govern, "a nook of the area during which . . . girls are their very own mistresses," and the place marriage or even courtship will be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would supply treatment and vocational education for the bad, and the entire houses could have libraries and experiences, in order that each one girl might have a "room of her personal" during which to jot down books. Joan DeJean's energetic creation and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unheard of entry to the brave voice of this amazing girl.

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Additional resources for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)

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And when great wealth and extensive property were added to the equation, such a marriage became truly an affair of state. In seventeenth-century France, at the moment when the Bourbon monarchy was moving ever closer to absolutism, Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, was without rival as a marital commodity. To begin with, her lineage was the most noble of any contemporary French princess: she was the granddaughter of Henri IV and the daughter of Gaston d’Orléans, the brother of Louis XIII.

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. According to every rule of the contemporary marriage game, the man she finally decided on was hardly her equal. Antonin Nompar de Caumont, marquis de Puyguilhem, was the third son of the comte de Lauzun, a title he had inherited upon his father’s death in 1668. By birth Lauzun was therefore in no way worthy of a member of the royal family; in addition, he was virtually penniless.

Thus, Madame, I thought that you would not think it amiss of me to share with you the feelings you inspired in me, as well as the principles that I consider necessary to make the seclusion that you were discussing both entertaining and beneficial. In the first place, Madame, it is essential, in my opinion, that the people who would like to withdraw from the court or from society distance themselves from those places without feeling obliged to leave them,1 but rather because they are aware of how little constancy can be found in this type of life and even among 1.

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