Madame Sevigne

Selected Letters
  • Selected Letters

  • One of the world's greatest correspondents, Madame de Sévigné (1626-96) paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society and literary circles, whose close friends included Madame de La Fayette and La Rochefoucauld, she reflected on both significant historical events and personal issues, and in this selection of the most significant letters, spanning almost fifty years, she is by turns humorous and melancholic, profound and superficial. Whether describing the new plays of Racine and Molière, speculating on court scandals - including the intrigues of the King's mistresses - or relating her own family concerns, Madame de Sévigné provides throughout an intriguing portrait of the lost age of Le Roi Soleil.

Madame de Sévigné (1626-1696). Widowed at 26, Sevigne spent most of her time in Paris, where she became a popular member of the salons and the court, considered as a especially witty conversationalist. In early 1671, Francoise and her infant daughter left for Provence, and the letters that would make up the largest bulk of Sevigne's correspondence (68% of her extant letters) began. Francoise Sevigne wrote to her daughter whenever they were apart---at least weekly, sometimes more frequently---giving her court news (valuable to the Grignans, far from the center of power), Parisian gossip, advice (usually unwanted), and always expressions of her love.

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