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ENG150Y1 - Lecture 37 - The Princess of Cleves (1).docx

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William Robins

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1 ENG150Y1 – Lecture 37 – Madame Lafayette: The Princess of Clèves Monday, February 25, 2013 - Setting: historical world that impinges on words - Celebrated novel; readers can debate its merits - Princess of Clèves o Initially Mlle. Chartres, young: 15, mostly 16 throughout the novel o She‟s going from a period of life from great innocence to difficult social structures (when she marries Prince Clèves) o Novel plays on chivalric romance  It takes CR as a template, but simultaneously moves away from it  The novel turns CR into something else, while diverging the plot line o Novel: how to deal with private and public through social meaning  17 century – there‟s a focus on managing status, identity  These are the same worries that we go through  we worry about keeping things private and having them made public to certain people or not making them public at all o Like Facebook o Novel = written by a woman  In this period – reached a certain culture where women have access to education, writing tools, and social caché that‟ll allow them to produce texts for the society  Mme. Lafayette elevates the status of a female writer of novels to a much more valued status th  The access of women to apparatus of culture in 17-19 century parallels the rise of novels during this period. Both reinforced each other  Novels were often criticized by men, who were arbiters of taste, as entertainment just for women and not as serious as, for example,thpics. But novels became the dominant mode of literary representation in Europe in 18 century. The occlusion of voices of women became an important part to the rise of novels  NB – Don Quixote was a hidalgo (lowest rung of aristocracy). DQ not really an aristocrat, but kind of is one o The apparatus of culture = starting to spread to other sectors of society  Strange tension between gentry man + noble court  Princess of Clèves was published anonymously  This was a strategy such that women writers and their work would be taken seriously. They didn‟t want their works to be discounted because it came under the name of a woman  They also published under an assumed male name  This idea replicates some of the concerns of secrecy + concealment that the novel itself is fascinated with.  The emergence of women‟s rights allowed women to take part in the literary community Fontainebleau (Frequent Home for Henry II’s Court) - NB – the novel = an historical novel - The author imports the customs of her own society into the novel th o She imports the reflex of the 17 century institution of the salons  Debates + discussions about philosophy, novels, etc. took place in salons  She imported the idea of the salon by focusing on circles of royal women at court 2 Francois I Diane of Poitiers (“Mme de Valentinois”) Duke of Savey Marguerite Henri II Catherine de Medici 1559 + (“The King‟s Sister) (King) + (Queen) [d. 1559] King of Spain Elisabeth Francois II Marie Stuart (yr? sorry, couldn‟t see. I think it was 1559? + (“Madame”) (“Dauphin”) + (“Renne Dauphin”) - [“King”] [“Queen”] -
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