By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In the bold letters awarded during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance method of marriage, providing as a substitute to discovered a republic that she may 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 supply therapy and vocational education for the bad, and the entire houses could have libraries and experiences, in order that every one girl could have a "room of her personal" during 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Joan DeJean's vigorous advent and available translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unheard of entry to the brave voice of this awesome woman.
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Additional info for Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande Mademoiselle
42:491, B. 2:146). This corresponds to the time frame of the eight letters found in the Bibliothèque nationale’s manuscript, which were written over a period of some ﬁfteen months, and which, unlike the ﬁrst four letters that end in medias res, form a complete unit. While the manuscript followed here is not an autograph manuscript, it is in a late-seventeenth-century hand. 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.
Both women favor the long, loose sentences typical of the French prose of their day. Readers today, who know seventeenthcentury prose only from modern editions—all of which radically modernize its punctuation—may be surprised by their sentences. 17 In the self-portrait she contributed to the portrait collection she edited in 1659, Montpensier remarks, “I write well, freely 17. 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.
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.