By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In the bold letters provided during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, providing in its place to chanced on a republic that she could govern, "a nook of the area within which . . . ladies are their very own mistresses," and the place marriage or even courtship will be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would offer treatment and vocational education for the terrible, and the entire houses might have libraries and experiences, in order that each one girl could have a "room of her personal" within which to jot down books.
Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and obtainable translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us exceptional entry to the brave voice of this amazing woman.
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Extra resources for Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande Mademoiselle
Beginning in 1644 when Montpensier was seventeen and Philip IV of Spain became a widower, other candidates began to appear on the scene, 2. Montpensier owes the names by which her contemporaries referred to her to a curious practice that ﬁrst began to function at the French court in her day and that was maintained until the Revolution of 1789. ”) Daughters of the king were called “Madame” with their given name—“Madame Elisabeth,” and so forth. The royal niece, daughter of “Monsieur,” became the ﬁrst member of the court to be known simply as “Mademoiselle”; the title stuck for the ﬁrst eighteen years of her life, as long as she was Monsieur’s only daughter.
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appropriate rank by transferring some of her titles to his name, when her cousin changed his mind and, on December 18, rescinded his permission.
We know that Montpensier had copies made of her works—her Mémoires, in particular—that she presented to her friends. It is not unlikely that the Bibliothèque nationale’s manuscript is one such copy, that it therefore gives us our ﬁrst access ever to the correspondence as it was written. The French text published here follows the manuscript almost to the letter. I respected its use of capitals: we know that these were considered a way of emphasizing a word’s importance; they are thus a trace of the correspondence’s orality, an essential quality in a text whose tone is overwhelmingly conversational.
Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande Mademoiselle by Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier