Book Review | The witty marquise enjoyed writing letters and became the masterpiece that created a template for letter novels – Pledge Times

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Marie de Rabutin-Chantal: Letters of the Marquis de Sévigné 1648–1696. Ed. Riikka-Maria Rosenberg and Ulla Tuomarla. Work. 432 s.

Marchioness de Sévignén (1626–1696) belong to the classical era of French literature, Corneille and Racine drama, La Rouchefoucauld’n maxim, Madame de La Fayetten prose and Fontaine alongside the fables.

A fresh selection of translations Letters of the Marquis de Sévigné from 1648 to 1696 opens up a view of French court culture of time, the lifestyles and values ​​of the nobility, a social stratum for which the ability to stand out is all in all: the king’s favor, victories in war and love, success in the reign of the kingdom and the game table above all.

Classically makes the era a literature that, along with music, theater, and opera, was necessarily part of the life of the nobility. The Marquisess’s circle of friends included Madame de La Fayette and the Duke of Rouchefoucauld, who appear in letters frequently.

Literature forms the intellectual and moral framework of the letters through which the values ​​of the era are conveyed. The letters are characterized by a naturally embraced written Civilization and the ability to evaluate human nature based on it. References to Molière the character types of the plays are abundant, often skillfully hidden. Mention of Madame de La Fayette Princess Clévesin refer to the sphere of experience of a woman in the absolute world of love and honor.

Now Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, author of the translated letters, was born in 1626 in Paris, on the Place Royal, on the present Place des Vosges. Noble families used to educate their daughters, and young Marie also received proper education. His literary skills are thus not the result of “talent,” as the preface to the work suggests, but of schooling.

Marie married at the age of 18 Monsieur Henry de Sévignén with. After donating two children to his wife, the man was killed in a duel that resolved disagreements over the mistress. The incident sparked remarkable remarks from the Marquise: “I finally know where she sleeps her night.”

The Marquise had managed to separate her own wealth from that of her husband in the event of this untimely death. The far-sighted arrangement and the status of the widow laid the foundation for an independent, autonomous life.

Filial marriage in 1669 to Monsieur de Grignanin with and the move from Paris to Provence was a decisive event on the subject of the Marquis’s letters.

The majority of the letters are addressed to the daughter. In them, the Marquise portrays herself as a mother who is completely dedicated to her daughter and whose happiness depends on the daughter’s reluctance and adherence to maternal instructions.

At the beginning of the marriage, the mother’s worries are especially about the daughter’s health: “If you are well, you are sick, but if you are sick, you are well.” A complicated phrase to read: pregnancy should be avoided, but if you get pregnant, good as well.

Pregnancy was, of course, a significant health risk. The mother’s guidance to the young wife is based on practical wisdom: things must be arranged so that the husband has as little access to the room as he can get.

There is probably nothing in the world that does not belong to the mother.

Maternal the impact of the role on future writers of letters and subsequent literature has been unusual.

The collection of letters published as a book also created a model for an 18th-century lost product, a letter novel.

The Marquisess’s letters predate the golden age of the 18th century letters when they were born Montesquieu Persialaiskirjeet, Rousseau La Nouvelle Héloïse and Goethe The Sufferings of Young Werther. The Marquisess’ letters were published as a complete book by her granddaughter in 1726.

The value and significance of the collections of letters published as books in the 17th century were determined by the status of nobility and publicity.

The Marquise did not write for the court, the salon, or the academy, though they were read in them, but for the amusement of loved ones and friends.

Literally historically, the Marquise’s letters represent a shift toward a growing interest in biographical presentation, human privacy, and intimacy.

The letter the author, the personal and time-changing self, becomes the center of the letters.

The innovation of the era was to arrange the letters in the book chronologically. Thus, from the chain formed by the letters and the gaps between the letters, the reader forms in his mind the actual plot of the book, the “life story”.

Marchioness also surpassed the court’s preferred performance and style conventions. He expresses himself in an effortless and carefree style, which is referred to in Italian sprezzatura.

The term returns Baldassare Castiglionen to a work on the upbringing of a noble youth Il Cortegiano (Eng. courtier), of which the Marquis was naturally acquainted.

The Marquis refers to the nature of her writing by repeating the wit of a man who “had to be killed in order for her to be taken seriously. His wife disagrees, and neither do I. But my pen now happened to repeat this thoughtlessness. ”

letters, abundance and breadth, their witty spirit reveals the author’s deepest motive, the joy of writing.

The account presented to the daughter of the misfortune of the staggering boy in the love life is exemplary. The young man, who is constantly changing his mistress, has told his mother about the adversity he has experienced on the paths of the love, which the mother cannot help but tell:

“Your brother had faced a favorable opportunity, and yet — can I say anything? His liver coagulated in the middle of the trip. “

In italics Punch line is a quote from a contemporary poet From Vincent Voiture, and it does not refer to the poem Pegasus.

A light, playful expression can instantly turn into loud and direct speech. The girlfriend who retired to the monastery tells the Marquis that God was very merciful to her.

“God’s grace was like a perfume bottle for a woman,” says the Marquis. “Its liquid evaporated immediately if you just ventured out to bark at the fresh air.”

mammon there is not enough mercy from the Marquis to the predators running after him.

The hardness of the world is illuminated by the story of a “ugly and outdated” woman who, after twenty years of widowhood, gave “all her love to a M de la Baroire”. The man “spent only a sad and purposeful quarter of an hour in his bed and, after signing the gift certificate, rushed the woman out of her house”.

The tip of the story consists of the Marquise’s acknowledgment: “I would very much like to just spit in her face.”

In abundance the illustrated and carefully edited work contains an introduction to the customs, historical figures and events of a diverse era.

The translation of the letters is the responsibility of a group of French-speaking students at the University of Helsinki, which, in cooperation with teachers, has transferred letters of great interest in cultural history and writing to modern Finland.

The author is a professor of Finnish literature at the University of Helsinki.

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