Difference between revisions of "Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne"

From SiefarWikiEn

Jump to: navigation, search
[checked revision][checked revision]
 
(No difference)

Latest revision as of 12:42, 9 December 2010

Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne
Spouses François Motier, comte de La Fayette
Also known as Madame de La Fayette
Biography
Birth date 1634
Death 1693
Biographical entries in old dictionaries
Dictionnaire Pierre-Joseph Boudier de Villemert
Dictionnaire Fortunée Briquet
Dictionnaire Charles de Mouhy
Online
Dictionnaire Cesar - Calendrier électronique des spectacles sous l'Ancien Régime et sous la Révolution.


Entry by Joan DeJean, 2006

Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne was baptized on March 18, 1634 at Saint-Sulpice in Paris, and she died on May 25, 1693 in Paris; her funeral took place in Saint-Sulpice on May 27. She entered the literary scene as a young précieuse during the golden age of the salons (1650-1658). During the first years after her marriage on February 15, 1655 to François, Comte de Lafayette, she moved to Auvergne to live on her husband’s estate. She gave birth to her sons, Louis and Armand, in 1658 and 1659. Her husband lived sporadically with her in Paris in her family’s house on the rue Férou. In November 1661 he returned alone to Auvergne, having signed a document giving his wife full authority over the family’s legal affairs. Very few women of the day enjoyed this kind of independence. They were never again to live together for an extended period. Yet they remained on good terms until his death in 1684. From then on, Lafayette lived her life as a Parisian and as a writer. Her first published work was a verbal portrait of her life-long best friend, the Marquise de Sévigné. She went on to write a series of historical novels. All of her career was played out at the center of French literary and intellectual life, frequenting the most influential salons and many of the most important literary figures of the day. The two people closest to her -the Marquise de Sévigné and the Comte de La Rochefoucauld- were also noted writers. A number of them collaborated in different ways in the writing of her novels, common practice at a time when many authors circulated their works widely in manuscript before publication. For example, at Lafayette’s request Pierre Daniel Huet and Jean Regnauld de Segrais helped revise the style of her longest novel, Zayde: it was said that she felt that it was originally too close to that of Madeleine de Scudéry, the most important novelist in France when she began her career. Lafayette was an influential figure at the court of Louis XIV. She managed her family’s considerable estate, negotiated her sons' futures, and carried on diplomatic negotiations with the house of Savoie. Lafayette’s contributions to the history of her age -Histoire de Madame Henriette d’Angleterre and Mémoires de la cour de France- were not published in her lifetime. At the time, no one made histories public until after the deaths of all those whose stories they told. In the type of novel Lafayette made famous, she used her intimate knowledge of the working of courtly politics to expand the horizons of prose fiction. Like some of her best-known precursors, notably Scudéry, she wrote historical fiction. She often chose her subjects from modern history, documenting her facts with a degree of precision never previously encountered. As a result, she blurred the line between fiction and non-fiction. Lafayette used this blurring as a vehicle for political commentary -e.g., on the corrupting influence of life at court. Lafayette’s work is also famous because of the way in which she transformed the novel’s form and gave it a previously unimaginable tautness. Earlier novels were immense, often filling numerous volumes and thousands of pages. In contrast, Lafayette composed works of striking concision: she eliminated almost entirely the intercalated tales that make up the major part of many early novels, and she sought to pare down her prose and eliminate all but the bare essentials. Lafayette is often credited with having invented the psychological novel. In a progression that moves from the Princesse de Montpensier to Zayde to the Princesse de Clèves, her female protagonists struggle to find a protected space in which they feel safe to explore their emotional response to the major events in their lives. Whenever the Princesse de Clèves is able to find privacy in the midst of the invasiveness of court life, she comes to terms with her actions in interior monologues. Lafayette’s contemporaries saw the conflicts that tormented her characters as directly related to their own lives. The work generally recognized as Lafayette’s finest, La Princesse de Clèves, is often called the first modern novel. It is regularly included on lists of the best French novels of all time; Lafayette is often the only woman writer to figure on such lists. Readers today still consider Lafayette’s struggle to make the novel more interior proof of her modernity.


Works

1659 : «Portrait de Madame la Marquise de Sévigné sous le nom d’un inconnu», dans Recueil des portraits en vers et en prose dédié à Son Altesse royale Mademoiselle [par Mademoiselle de Montpensier et sa cour], Paris, C. de Sercy et C. Barbin, 2 vols -- dans OEuvres complètes de Madame de Lafayette, éd. Roger Duchêne, Paris, François Bourin, 1990.

1662 : La Princesse de Montpensier, Paris, C. de Sercy (publication anonyme) -- dans OEuvres complètes, voir supra

1662-1664 ? : La Comtesse de Tende, dans le Nouveau Mercure, septembre 1718 (sans doute rédigé à la même période que La Princesse de Montpensier) -- dans OEuvres complètes, voir supra.

1666-1670 : Histoire de Mme Henriette d’Angleterre, Amsterdam, M.-C. Cène, 1720 -- dans OEuvres complètes, voir supra.

1670-1671 : Zayde, histoire espagnole, Paris, C. Barbin, 2 vols. (attribué à Jean Regnauld de Segrais sur la page de titre) -- dans OEuvres complètes, voir supra.

1678 : La Princesse de Clèves, Paris, Barbin (publication anonyme). Toutes les éditions actuellement disponibles reproduisent de manière injustifiée le texte d’une copie annotée de la première édition; les lecteurs ne peuvent donc plus aborder le texte tel que Lafayette l’avait écrit. -1690? : Mémoires de la cour de France pour les années 1688 et 1689, Amsterdam, J.-F. Bernard, 1731 -- dans OEuvres complètes, voir supra.

Correspondance, éd. André Beaunier, Paris, Gallimard, 1992, 2 vol.


Selected bibliography

Genette, Gérard, «Vraisemblance et motivation», dans Figures II, Paris, Seuil, 1969, p.71-99.

Gevrey, Françoise, L’Esthétique de Madame de Lafayette, Paris, S.E.D.E.S, 1997.'

Madame de Lafayette, Actes de Davis [1988], Biblio 17, v.40, Paris-Seattle-Tübingen, PFSCL, 1988.

Laugaa, Maurice, Lectures de Mme de Lafayette, Paris, Colin, coll. « U2 », 1971.

Poulet, Georges, études sur le temps humain (1952), t.1, Paris, éd. du Rocher, coll. « Agora », 1989, chap VII «Madame de Lafayette».

Selected bibliography of images

Jean Delannoye, La Princesse de Clèves, 1960.

Manoel de Olivera, La Lettre (La Carta), 1999.

Andrej Zuslavsky, La Fidélité, 2000.

Reception

  • «Cette héritière perfectionnée de Mme de Rambouillet, cette amie de Mme de Sévigné toujours, de Mme de Maintenon, longtemps, a son rang et sa date assurée en notre littérature en ce qu’elle a réformé le roman, et qu’une part de cette divine raisonqui était en elle, elle l’appliqua à ménager et à fixer un genre tendre où les excès avaient été grands, et auquel elle n’eut qu’à toucher pour lui faire trouver grâce auprès du goût sérieux qui semblait disposé à l’abolir» (Sainte-Beuve, Revue des Deux mondes, Ier septembre 1836, p.514).


  • «Segrais rapporte qu’elle disait volontiers: C’est assez d’être.Elle entendait par là que pour être heureux, il fallait vivre “sans ambition et sans passions, au moins sans passions violentes”» (Bernard Pingaud, Mme de Lafayette par elle-même, éd. du Seuil, 1959, p.18).
Personal tools
In other languages