By Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans Montpensier, Duchesse De Montpensier
In the bold letters awarded during this bilingual variation, Montpensier condemns the alliance procedure of marriage, offering as an alternative to came upon a republic that she could govern, "a nook of the realm 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 terrible, and the entire houses might have libraries and experiences, in order that every one girl might have a "room of her personal" within which to jot down books.
Joan DeJean's full of life advent and obtainable translation of Montpensier's letters—four formerly unpublished—allow us unheard of entry to the brave voice of this outstanding woman.
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Additional resources for Against marriage : the correspondence of la Grande Mademoiselle
23 24 La Grande Mademoiselle indicates that the correspondence circulated widely in manuscript. The ﬁrst four of these letters have been published several times in volumes that gather together various kinds of letters, ﬁrst in 1667 and most recently in 1806. All subsequent editions follow the 1667 text. In her Mémoires Montpensier writes that she did not authorize this edition: she adds that the four letters had been so “mangled” that she considered them “ruined” (C. 3:454, P. 42:491, B. 2:147).
2:146– 47). From their letters we learn that what Montpensier called “solitude” meant not living alone, but living away from the court, while “to live for oneself” signiﬁed that one had decided not to marry. Her correspondent had her own reasons for sharing Montpensier’s aversion to marriage. In 1639, when she was eighteen, Françoise Bertaut— daughter of a lady-in-waiting and friend of Louis XIV’s mother, Anne of Austria—had been married off to the ninety-year-old Nicolas Langlois, seigneur de Motteville.
Obvious literary references should not, however, lull us into believing that Montpensier intended that her project be absolutely timeless. She calls their community a “Republic,” a word the correspondents repeat almost incessantly. That term alone makes us realize that the government of her ideal community would be kinder and gentler than her cousin’s monarchy. The simple fact that Montpensier would have reigned as “sovereign” over their republic also says a great deal: she thereby appropriates for herself a measure of the power that could have been hers in a state without Salic law, the legal code that prevented French princesses from succeeding to the 9.