Madame de Lafayette

Madame de Lafayette

Madame de La Fayette (1634–1693) was born into a wealthy family of minor nobility in Paris. While being educated, she attended all of the fashionable salons of her day. In 1655, she married François Motier, comte de La Fayette, and later became acquainted with many of the major literary luminaries of the period, including Racine and Boileau.

The Princess of Clèves

by Madame de Lafayette

Translated from the French by Nancy Mitford

Perhaps one of the greatest works of French literature is Madame de Lafayette’s The Princess of Clèves, often described as the first of all “modern” novels. This classic translation, with an introduction, by the late English novelist and biographer Nancy Mitford, was first brought out in 1951 by New Directions. It is now available as a New Directions Paperbook. Published in 1678 and written by Marie Madeleine Roche de la Vergne, Countess de Lafayette––a Parisian lady of fashion and great wit––it recreates with matchless vitality the lives and loves of the sixteenth-century courtiers of King Henry II of France.…
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