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PRINCESSE DE CLÈVES (LA) (French) Mass Market Paperback – Jul 4 2000

6 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: GALLIMARD (June 1 2000)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2070414434
  • ISBN-13: 978-2070414437
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #403,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Madame de Clèves, jeune beauté parfaite en tout point, fait des débuts remarqués à la cour de la reine dauphine, belle-fille d'Henri II. Pour ce modèle de vertu, l'image de Diane de Poitiers plane tout au long du roman comme le contre-exemple absolu. Mais sous des dehors innocents, la Princesse de Clèves, par sa faculté à analyser et à maîtriser ses sentiments, fait preuve d'une personnalité étonnante et rarement exposée avec tant de justesse auparavant. Car, si l'amour courtois trouve ici d'indéniables échos, cet ouvrage paru en 1678, souvent considéré comme le premier roman de la littérature française, est indéniablement un pas énorme vers le roman tel qu'on le connaît aujourd'hui. La galerie de portraits dressée par Madame de Lafayette peut s'avérer un peu rébarbative pour le lecteur moderne, de même que sa langue est un peu austère. Néanmoins, l'analyse psychologique est d'une vraisemblance résolument novatrice et rachète l'invraisemblance de certaines scènes. En outre, l'exploit de faire naître tout un roman d'une intrigue aussi ténue, pratiquement sans action, fait de La Princesse de Clèves un ouvrage d'autant plus pathétique que les personnages laissent peu d'emprise aux événements extérieurs et se condamnent eux-mêmes. --Sana Tang-Léopold Wauters

From the Back Cover

Un essai - Étude approfondie d'un grand texte classique ou contemporain par. un spécialiste de l'oeuvre : approche critique originale des multiples facettes dû texte dans, une présentation claire et rigoureuse.

Un dossier - Bibliographie, chronologie, variantes, témoignages, extraits de presse. Éclaircissements historiques et contextuels, commentaires critiques récents.

Un ouvrage efficace, élégant. Une nouvelle manière de lire. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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By m-starr on July 26 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book because John Updike said it was one of the world's greatest novels of romance -- but I should have known from his other choices (Madame Bovary and The Scarlett Letter, among others) that he likes his romance bleak! The Princess of Cleves is certainly of considerable scholarly interest, being as it is a very early novel, and delving interestingly into the predicament of a woman trying to behave morally despite the frivolity, intrigue and pleasure-seeking of the 17th century French court. But the story is difficult and sad: young woman marries dutifully, then falls in love with a handsome duke, he feels similarly and pursues her passionately, but she struggles against her feelings, which wrecks havoc on everyone. The predicament is closely linked to the context and doesn't feel timeless or grand in theme; rather, the triviality of it stokes up thoughts of what caused the French revolution. Interested readers may prefer the Norton critical edition, which offers a number of essays as well as the text.
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By A Customer on July 12 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"La Princesse de Cleves" is among the most scrupulously accurate historical fictions in literature. It is also arguably the first historical novel ever written and one of the earliest novels in any language.
But is a classic in Mark Twain's sense of the word, the sort of book everyone wants to have read but nobody actually wants to read?
I agree with another reviewer that this isn't beach blanket fare. Readers of early English literature will find it more palatable than Samuel Richardson's "Pamela" and better plotted than anything by Defoe. Although Mme. de Lafayette is not the first important female writer in French - Christine de Pizan comes to mind - this highly original work outdoes Aphra Behn, Fanny Burney, or any other English woman before Jane Austen.
If those comparisons bring a sparkle to your eye then prepare for a treat. The central figure is a sixteen-year-old girl fresh from a sheltered childhood in the countryside when her mother decides to deal for a prestigious son-in-law. Except for the fictional protagonist every figure in this late Renaissance setting is historically accurate. The jousts, the love affairs, the betrayals, and the shocking death of one pivotal figure all happened. De Lafayette presents the French royal court at its most glamorous, then peels away the facade to reveal ambitions that corrupt or destroy everyone who remains in their spell.
Women's fictions from this era were expected to be love stories. This one succeeds at that well enough to woo modern readers while it levels a scathing attack on the French aristocracy in the tradition of Moliere.
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book. A very fast read at just 176 pages, The Princesse de Cleves was written as a sort of snapshot of the behavior that was common in royal courts throughout Europe. Full of intrigue, love, treachery and death, this book reads exactly like a soap opera. The introduction says that it first appeared in 1678 and was one of the first romance books written in French. I decided to read it due to some courses in history that I've taken that concern this time period.
The main character is a woman of extraordinary beauty who quickly captures the hearts of men at the court of Henri II of France. She marries Monsieur de Cleves, even though she doesn't really love him. The marriage is more for position than emotion, although it's hard not to sympathize with her husband, as he treats her well and always tries to win her heart. His wife quickly becomes enraptured with the Duc de Nemours, a court dandy who has the reputation of loving 'em and leaving 'em. He falls in love with her, and the rest of the book is spent explaining their machinations as the Duc tries to get close to her, and Mme. de Cleves tries to keep him at arms length and honor her marriage to her husband. Everything comes to a head in the end, which is bleak and not at all happy as one would expect.
This book is fairly one-dimensional in shape. There is little character development beyond love affairs, and almost no description of scenery. This is an intensely character driven book, without the character, and very complex once the political intrigues enter the picture. All royal courts had intrigue, and France was probably one of the worst. When love affairs bloom, the webs become even more convoluted. It really is like a soap opera, although I couldn't help but notice that a deep cynicism runs throughout the book.
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