By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic girls 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 one in all only a few exceptions, due to the giant wealth she inherited from her mom, who died almost immediately after Montpensier was once born. She used to be additionally one of many few politically robust ladies in France on the time to were an entire author. within the bold letters offered during this bilingual version, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, offering in its place to came upon a republic that she could govern, "a nook of the area during 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 negative, and all of the houses could have libraries and reports, in order that each one girl might 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 Joan DeJean's energetic advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us remarkable entry to the brave voice of this notable lady.
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Additional resources for Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe)
She ironically compares the people in various states of ill health with whom she ﬁnds herself surrounded there to the group she had hoped to gather together in a country retreat, thereby making clear her awareness of the way the political climate was changing around her. She was correct in her evaluation, for those changes would put an end to any type of active involvement on the part of women, such as the community she had envisioned. In August 1661 the French monarchy was about to enter a new age.
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. Had Montpensier’s strange choice turned into a great love match, their union could be celebrated today as the most striking example of a phenomenon documented by historian Carolyn Lougee. During the second half of the seventeenth century, a new view of marriage was promoted both in contemporary novels and in the important seventeenth-century tradition of writing that we would now call feminist, a tradition that, in particular, called for equality between the sexes: marriage was a matter of personal choice and should be based on love, rather than obligation to one’s family; a man’s personal merit, rather than his social standing or family fortune, should determine a woman’s choice of husband.
Because the “fairy tale” is so long and its authorship uncertain, I chose not to translate it for this volume. 21 22 La Grande Mademoiselle similar fashion on the border between real life and fantasy. I have already stressed the aspects of fantasy, so I will close on two ways in which the project mapped out a plan of action that could be termed realistic: Montpensier’s vision of socially responsible rural life and her hopes for women’s intellectual achievements. 14 In this respect, Montpensier’s project is a far cry from the well-known French tradition of pastoral as escapist aristocratic entertainment, a tradition whose most visible proponent was undoubtedly Queen Marie Antoinette, playing milkmaid in her pseudo-rustic cottage at Versailles even as the forces that led to the Revolution of 1789 were gathering.
Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe) by Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier