Wealhtheow's Reviews > The Princess de Cleves

The Princess de Cleves by Madame de La Fayette
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's review
Jul 30, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: historical

** spoiler alert ** This was written in the mid-seventeenth century, so I shouldn’t have expected much from it. Nevertheless, the stilted, utterly artificial dialog, the smothering moral tone, and the rampant historical inaccuracies were even worse than I’d thought. By the end of the first chapter, I gave in and looked up the plot.

Yes, it is true: having lived completely blamelessly in an arranged marriage, the main character (for whom I never felt anything but amused contempt) does indeed DIE in a CONVENT because she had loved another man. She never acted upon it in any way, but because she had feelings for some other dude, she had to die. Le sigh. The one fun bit is reading Tudor politics from a French perspective, which gives the whole thing an intriguing twist.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading (Other Paperback Edition)
January 1, 2007 – Finished Reading (Other Paperback Edition)
Started Reading
February 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
July 30, 2007 – Shelved
August 28, 2007 – Shelved (Other Paperback Edition)
August 30, 2007 – Shelved as: historical (Other Paperback Edition)
August 30, 2007 – Shelved as: historical

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Wayne Oh, HOW nasty not to warn of a spoiler like that...and just because YOU didn't like it.
Will have to call out the Goodreads Police !!!!
How modern you ARE!!!
And what a BORE.
May you be blessed with a husband and an unrequited love.

Wealhtheow Eep, sorry. I'll cut that behind a spoiler warning!

Kelly H. (Maybedog) Why on Earth did you even read this?

message 4: by Wayne (last edited Jul 16, 2009 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wayne Thanks muchly, Wealhtheow.
Hope "The Princess" doesn't put you off historical novels...or love affairs!!!!
I recently stumbled across a site/s of fans of Anya Seton or Seaton and her historical novels.
Dragonwyck ,The Winthrop Woman, Katherine.There were absolute raves about Katherine, based on a true love affair between a 13th Century English future King and Katherine, whose union was thwarted for many years.
And The Winthrop Woman based on a woman in Colonial America who defied her preacher husband and gave refuge to a woman accused of being a heretic...true story as well!!!
Hope you have time to have a browse.
And Happy Historics...NOT Hysterics!!!!
Cheers from Wayne.
Your name sounds very ancient and historical.
Is it a nickname or your real name? Sounds old English.

Wealhtheow Good catch, Wayne. I love Old English poetry, so I took the name from the only woman in Beowulf who has any lines. Queen Wealhtheow for the win! So no worries about this putting me off older literature--between my love of OE, classic Nordic sagas, and Regency and Victorian lit, I've got a bunch left to interest me!

I can't say I'm a big fan of historical fiction; I get too distracted by the inaccuracies. Plus, I'm scared of taking fiction for fact! But thanks for reminding me about John of Gaunt--I've always meant to look into Henry Tudor's origins.

message 6: by Wayne (last edited Jul 16, 2009 09:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wayne I knew that name rang a bell!!Beowulf!!!Of course!!!
Glad you dropped the title. ("Queen', I mean.)
Which leads me to think you might just be interested in a retelling of the Beowulf saga from the point of view of...GRENDEL!!!By John Gardner.Taught medieval lit at the Uni of Southern Illinois .So a kindred spirit you might find.

Regency eh!!
You wouldn't be a fan of that GREAT Regency Lit Lady, Miss J.Austen, would you??? I must say I have always been besotted.
And grieve,as with Schubert, that her life too was cut short and she still had a wealth to offer.I read ALL her juvenalia last year and found myself laughing out loud. So underrated by Austen fans.
Becoming Jane Austen, her biography by Jon Spence was what drove me to read ALL her juvenile stuff.I'd only dabbled before that. It too is worth a read.
Also read "Jane Austen in Australia" by Barbara Ker Wilson,recently, now published as "The Lost Years of Jane Austen." She has a real love for JA.and for me captures her character believably. Her recount of the arrest and trial of JA's Aunt Leigh Perrot is a masterpiece of recreation.In the second half JA accompanies her Aunt and Uncle Perrot to...Australia!!
I hate this sort of thing. Like you do .BUT!!!!
You know it's false.She is not misleading you where some authors do...unforgivably.BUT this is different.
It is an alternative life, a "what if " approach. Quite different. And it works. A very faithful picture of Sydney at that time.(Take it from me - I taught Aust History.)
And she is a very good writer.
If you want to read REAL messing around with facts get onto "The Boy in Striped Pyjamas", a Holocaust travesty.It's one of only two books on my "books-I've-thrown-across-the-room" shelf.
I think historical fiction CAN lead you into the real thing,ie. authentic history writing, which still is an interpretation. But the difference is that a novelist is always tempted to fib to enhance the plot, whereas a researcher should be amassing evidence to make a probable argument.
I'll leave you in peace, oh Mighty Queen!!!
Too much raving... but I DO LOVE BOOKS.
Cheers from Wayne, Sydney Australia.

Wayne PS. Dottie who was on the "Katherine" (of John of Gaunt )site revealed that Katherine was the Grandmother of Queen Isabella of Spain, who with her hubby, King Ferdinand, sponsered Columbus on his famous voyage. Isabella then named her own daughter Katherine after her own grandmother.This second Kate was none other than Katherine of Aragon who married Henry VIII...and we all know how many wives there were to come!!!
Goodbye ...again!!

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