Madame De Sévigné (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Marie de Rabutin Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné, flourished during the acknowledged classic period of French art and literature. She has long been recognized (and anthologized) as a premier star among the literary lights of her time and is the prime example of sparkling epistolary style, wherever such examples are given. Her letters occupy a place next to the drama of Pierre Corneille, the tragedy of Jean Racine, La Rochefoucauld’s Maximes, La Fontaine’s Fables, and the fiction of Madame de La Fayette. The edition of her letters (1862-1868) by Nicolas Monmerqué inaugurated the “Grands Écrivains de France” (Great Writers of France) series of definitive editions, a signal honor for a writer of personal letters. Subsequent discoveries of copies of letters written to family and friends, in particular the massive manuscript discovered by chance by Charles Capmas in 1872, led to reevaluation of the Monmerqué edition and more complete editions of the letters under Émile Gérard-Gailly (Madame de Sévigné: Lettres, 1953-1957) and Roger Duchêne (Madame de Sévigné: Correspondance, 1972-1978). Frances Mossiker, in Madame de Sévigné: A Life and Letters, uses the Duchêne edition as the basis for her translations of Sévigné’s letters.
The wit and style of the “divine marquise” have won for her admiration from major literary figures on both sides of the Atlantic, ranging from Horace Walpole in the...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
The Atlantic. CCLII, November, 1983, p. 148.
Choice. XXI, February, 1984, p. 826.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVI, December 2, 1983, p. B14.
Library Journal. CVIII, September 15, 1983, p. 1791.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, January 8, 1984, p. 25.
The New Yorker. LIX, January 16, 1984, p. 102.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, August 12, 1983, p. 61.
Time. CXXII, October 10, 1983, p. 74.
The Wall Street Journal. CCIII, February 7, 1984, p. 30.
Wilson Quarterly. VIII, Spring, 1984, p. 148.
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