The Princesse de Clèves (riverrun editions)
By Madame de Lafayette
Nancy Mitford's sparkling translation of this classic French novel: a work of courtly intrigue, unrequited love and concealed passion
'Always be civil to the girls. You never know whom they might marry.' Nancy Mitford, from her introduction to The Princess de Clèves
When the young, beautiful Mademoiselle de Chartres comes to court, her primary objective is to find herself a husband. Upon her mother's recommendation, she accepts the advances of the Prince de Clèves, a rather average sort of a man. Unfortunately, soon after the wedding she finds herself to be in love with the dashing Duc de Nemours . . .
Against a backdrop of labyrinthine court politics, the naïve Madame de Clèves' pursuit of true love is a riveting and timelessly tragic read.
Madame de Lafayette was born in Paris in 1634. After living in the country with her husband for a time, she returned to Paris in the 1660s. There, she ran a literary salon from her home, and cultivated connections with the court of King Louis XIV. The Princess de Clèves was published anonymously in 1678, became an immediate succès de scandale and is considered a classic of French literature.
Nancy Mitford was an English novelist, biographer and journalist who wrote classics such as The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. She was celebrated for her wit, social insight and satire. Her translation of The Princess de Clèves was published in 1950.
Selina Hastings is a journalist and author; she studied at St. Hugh's College, Oxford before launching her writing career in 1985 with the publication of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady.
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- Publication date:
23 Aug 2018
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