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Princess of Cleves (1678) - Madame de La Fayette

Related: fiction - France - literature - 1600s literature - French literature

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You may be surprised to learn that the very first novel, Tale of Genji, was written by a woman, Lady Murasaki of Japan, around A.D.1008, and it is over 1100 pages long (a bit long for our course). The first French novel, Princess of Cleves, was also written by a woman, Madame de La Fayette, in 1678. These two important firsts are followed by a rich and varied collection of novels written by women. In this course you will have the opportunity to read five of these novels, which focus on young women, women your age, as they grow up.--http://laika.pop.indiana.edu/abstracts/ENG/33Lw/2001-09-04/intro.php [Sept 2005]

La Princesse de Clèves
La Princesse de Clèves is a French novel, regarded by many as one of the first European novels and a classic of its era. Its writer is most often held to be Madame de La Fayette.

Published anonymously in March 1678, and set in the high court of Henry II of France, it concerns the eponymous Madame de Clèves who is married to the Prince de Clèves, whom she does not love but respects and cares for. However, she falls passionately in love with the Duc de Nemours, and tries desperately to keep her virtue and check the affair amidst court intrigues, the Duc's pursuit of her, and her own feelings.

One of the earliest psychological novels which is also the first roman d'analyse (novel of analysis), La Princesse de Clèves has been extremely influential both in its time and since. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Princesse_de_Cl%C3%A8ves [Sept 2005]

See also: France - novel - 1600s

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