Selected Letters
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Selected Letters

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  21 reviews
One of the world's greatest correspondents, Madame de Sevigne (1626-96) paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society and literary circles, whose close friends included Madame de La Fayette and La Rochefoucauld, she reflected on both s...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 16th 1982 by Penguin Classics (first published 1725)
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Oh, these were utterly delightful, and I wish I had more of them. (Also, I would like to be able to read them in French someday.) They're a simply marvellous mix of court gossip, political news, and family matters, in a fluid and vivacious style, often very funny.

I laughed especially over the bit where her son discloses a recent problem with impotence: "He had found a favourable opportunity, and yet, dare I say it? His little gee-gee stopped short at Lerida. It was an extraordinary thing; the d...more
I read because she was a major influence on Proust via his mother. But it is also a hilarious and inciteful read in its own right. A gossip in the court, Madame's obsession with her daughter is impressive. Sevigne jumps from the page like Cellini.
I am not going to rate this because without sufficient notes it is very hard to read and judge. There must be many more astute and clever observations than I was able to catch. The first half seemed not much more normal family news, with the exception of the trial of Foucquet. Her maturity and wider range of commentary make the second half better, but still difficult to penetrate for someone unfamiliar with detailed French history. I was hoping to understand why Proust has Marcel's grandmother s...more
Feb 01, 2009 Kelly marked it as to-read
Madame de Sevigne was referenced as a big influence on the Lennox sisters in the book Aristocrats. From what they had to say about her and her letter writing style, I'm interested.
"Le lettere di una vita."

La corrispondenza di Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marchesa di Sévigné, viene considerata «grande letteratura». Occorre tener presente che lo scopo principale delle lettere di de Sévigné non era quello di essere tramandate ai posteri, ma di permettere alla Marchesa di comunicare con la figlia Françoise de Sévigné, contessa di Grignan; il «corpus» parte infatti, grosso modo, con il trasferimento dei conti di Grigan in Provenza per incarico di Luigi XIV e continua per ol...more
Madame de Sévigné était la sœur de Bussy-Rabutin, l'amie de madame de Lafayette et de La Rochefoucault, et des milieux frondeurs. Cette correspondance contient principalement les échanges qu'elle eut avec sa fille, qu'elle aimait passionnément, mais dont elle fut séparée lorsque cette dernière partit en Provence suivre son mari, le compte de Grignan. On y trouve une foule de marques touchante d'affection inquiètes et tendres d'une mère pour sa fille, écrites avec autant de grâce que de naturel,...more
Sévigné, comme Proust le fera à son tour un jour, fait de l'art avec sa quotidianité; les lettres à sa fille, pleines de charm et d'esprit, deviennent un miroir magnifique de la vie dans la cour de Louis XIV.
Read at Bennington 1969 for Monsieur guy's class...very thoughtful and lively letters to her beloved daughter
Un grand classique que j'aime beaucoup, des lettres pleines de charme et d'esprit.
I come to buy the house of her grand-daughter Pauline de Simiane beside Grignan. I thus read again with attention its letters in a beautiful edition XIX°. She talks about the house in a letter.
The letters of Mrs. de Sévigné are an old memory of high school. I remember of them as something of old and stiff.
I was pleased to read again them. I let myself carry by this admirable style. Splendid testimony of the Court of Louis XIV.
Perhaps I have the âge to appréciate them.
this is one of those collections i don't feel i have to read straight from the first cover to the last. my style with this book is to open it at a random page and just start reading. that being said, this is, in truth, the perpetual "current read". written in 17th century french, i can't understand it like i would a contemporary writing. while there are bits of formality and sophistication - some of her letters are beautifully written - there are also outdated idioms, words and turns of phrase i...more
Anne Slater
I was prepared to hate this book, an assignment for a French reading group. Amazingly, I am really engrossed but it, by Mme De Sévigné's obsession with her (married) daughter, by the witty and sometimes caustic repartée (of course we only see HER side..)

An interesting portrait of 17th century French court life.
It IS a slog, because the print is small and I have to keep turning to the back to read the footnotes or the explanation of who the people are to whom or about whom she writes.
Этот сборник писем придется по душе любителям эпохи Людовика XIV. Письма наполнены не только безграничной материнской любовью, но и описанием политических и общественных событий, которые представляют собой исторический интерес. Также у нас есть возможность проехать вместе с Мадам де Савенье по дорогам Прованса и Бретани, посетовать на дороги и переправу по реке. Но для того, чтобы получить полное удовольствие от прочтения, нужно было постоянно заглядывать в указатель имен, пока не запомнились вс...more
Would prefer an annotated edition...will seek.
Couldn't get through it... Madame de Sévigné definitely loves her daughter very very much, there's no escaping that! Although nice to read how the French upperclass lived during that time, stopped reading the letters about 1/3 of the book.
Steve Blanchette
Had to read for class...painfully boring. I am sure many historians have been able to garner information from her letters but this collection is like trying to read a 300 year old soap opera. A disappointment for me.
I am reading this book in French to help me master the language, so it is a challenge to get through the whole book, but it is a beautiful diary even with grammatical confusion.
Oct 08, 2007 Michelle rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody unless they're really interested in the letters of a 18th century or so french letter writer
had to read this for a course called "l'art de conter" at the university of nantes. sort of interesting, but not really.
As always with the aristocracy, one does not know whether to be horrified or charmed.
Marc L
Niet bijster inspirerend. Zeker merkwaardig egodocument.
Oct 08, 2007 Duck.05 rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ---
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Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné was a French aristocrat, remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter.
More about Madame de Sévigné...
Madame de Sevigne Pisma Lettres de Madame de Sévigné (French Edition) Lettres de lannée 1671 Letters of Madame de Sévigné to her Daughter and her Friends, Volume 2 (Selected)

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