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The Princess of Cleves (La Princesse de Clèves) (The romance classic!) [Kindle Edition]

Madame de Lafayette , Marie-Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne comtesse de la Fayette , Robin Buss
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.95
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Book Description

NOTE: This edition has a linked "Table of Contents" and has been beautifully formatted (searchable and interlinked) to work on your Amazon e-book reader or iPod e-book reader.

Mademoiselle de Chartres is a sheltered heiress ("in her sixteenth year", i.e. aged 15) whose mother has brought her to the court of Henri II (a disguised version of the court of Louis XIV) to seek a husband with good prospects, financially and in society.

Old jealousies against a kinsman spark intrigues against the young ingenue, and the best marriage prospects withdraw. She accepts her mother's recommendation and the overtures of a middling suitor who admires her, the Prince de Clèves. However, after her marriage, she meets the dashing Duc de Nemours, and the two fall in love, yet do nothing to pursue their affections, limiting their contact to an occasional visit in the now-Princess of Clèves' salon.

The Duc becomes enmeshed in a scandal at court that leads the Princess to believe that he has been unfaithful in his affections. A letter from a spurned mistress to her paramour is discovered in the dressing room at one of the estates. The letter is actually to the Princess' uncle, the Vidame de Chartres, who has also become entangled in a relationship with the Queen.

The Vidame begs the Duc de Nemours to claim ownership of the letter, which ends up in the Princess' possession. The Duc has to produce documents from the Vidame to convince the Princess that his heart has been true.

Eventually, the Prince of Clèves discerns that his wife is in love with another man. She confesses it to him, and he relentlessly quizzes her until he learns the man's identity, eventually resorting to trickery to get her to reveal it. After he sends a servant to spy on the Duc de Nemours, Monsieur de Clèves believes that his wife has been unfaithful in more than just her emotions...

The novel was an enormous commercial success at the time of its publication, and would-be readers outside of Paris had to wait months to receive copies. The novel also sparked several public debates, including one about its authorship, and another about the wisdom of the Princess' decision to confess her adulterous feelings to her husband.

One of the earliest psychological novels, and also the first roman d'analyse (analysis novel), La Princesse de Clèves marked a major turning point in the history of the novel, which to that point had largely been used to tell romances, implausible stories of heroes overcoming odds to find a happy marriage, with myriad subplots and running ten to twelve volumes.

La Princesse de Clèves turned that on its head with a highly realistic plot, introspective language that explored the characters' inner thoughts and emotions, and few but important subplots concerning the lives of other nobles.

A wonderful, well-written thrilling and vigorous novel. A must-have for classic epic romance fans!


Product Description

About the Author

Marie-Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne was born in Paris in 1634. in 1656 she married the Comte de Lafayette, had two sons, and lived on his country estate. She then returned to Paris, and the couple remained largely separate from then on. She started a literary salon with her close friends Madame de Sevigne and the Duc de la Rochefoucauld. She also mixed in court circles and wrote a biography of her friend Henriette, wife of the Duc d'Orleans, after her death. She is mostly remembered for her novels. She died in 1693.

Robin Buss is a writer and translator who works for the Independent on Sunday and as television critic for the Times Literary Supplement. He has published on Vigny and Coteau and written three books on European cinema.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 256 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: ignacio hills press (TM) IgnacioHillsPress.com and e-Pulp Adventures (TM); 1st edition (29 July 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002JPJ2QM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #277,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First French Novel 13 Dec. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first French novel speaks of intrigue, marital and carnal love, innocence, good and evil, human strengths and weaknesses, life and death. In short, Madame de Lafayette, the author of the first French novel, touched upon many of the psychological states and human emotions that the novel, as a literary genre, would ceaselessly continue to describe for over 300 years. The Robin Buss translation in Penguin Classics is one of the best I've read. For those who can't read La Princess de Cleves in the original ,this translation is as good as it gets.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and intrique at the court of Henri II 12 May 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Mme de Lafayette wrote this during the reign of Louis XIV but the novel is set in the court of Henri II when his queen is Catherine de Medici, the young Mary Queen of Scots is his daughter-in-law and Diana de Poitiers was his mistress. As a courtier herself, Mme de Lafayette knew intimately the intriques and gossip that went on at court and she conveys that magnificently.

The young and very beautiful Madame de Cleves comes to court, is married rapidly to a man whom she admires and respects but cannot love, and falls in love herself with the Duke de Nemours, who feels the same for her. But tied by her sense of morality and the stories she has been told by her mother and others about the insincerity of court love, she restrains her passions and turns away from love.

This is a vivid, and exquisitely written novel that turns on the small emotions of love, duty and passion lived out in a public court where everyone is watching everyone else, and no-one's secrets remain hidden. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Most acute insights into the psychology of love 29 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A timeless tale of love, jealousy, torn loyalties, duty and intrigue, 'The Princess of Cleves' is as acute in its psychological insights as any 20th- or 21st-century novel. A masterpiece of French literature, it incurred the wrath of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who once complained that reading the novel had made him "suffer". Le pauvre!
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