Memoirs: Marie and Hortense Mancini

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The memoirs of Hortense (1646-1699) and Marie (1639-1715) Mancini, nieces of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin and members of the court of Louis XIV, represent the earliest examples in France of memoirs published by women under their own names during their lifetimes. Both unhappily married-Marie had also fled the aftermath of her failed affair with the king-the sisters chose to leave their husbands for life on the road, a life quite rare for women of their day.

Through their writings, the Mancinis sought to rehabilitate their reputations and reclaim the right to define their public images themselves rather than leave the stories of their lives to the intrigues of the court-and to their disgruntled ex-husbands. First translated into English in 1676 and 1679 and credited largely to male redactors, the two memoirs reemerge here in an accessible new translation that chronicles the beginnings of women's rights to personal independence within the confines of an otherwise circumscribed early modern aristocratic society.

About the Author:
Sarah Nelson is associate professor of French at the University of Idaho

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Editorial Reviews

London Review of Books - Elisabeth Landeson

"The memoirs make fascinating reading, and not just because they tell the bracingly transgressive story of two aristocratic women who spent most of their adult lives on the lam from their husbands. Their memories of childhood at the French court are just as absorbing."
Renaissance Quarterly - Jane Couchman

"Nelson has ably translated the two memoirs from the best, most recent editions, and echoes well the style of the originals, creating lively, dramatic tales. This is an excellent teaching text and resource for scholars unfamiliar with these works."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226502793
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Series: Other Voice in Early Modern Europe Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Nelson is assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures at the University of Idaho.

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Table of Contents

The Memoirs of Hortense and Marie Mancini 1

Volume Editor's Bibliography 21

To M.*** [The Memoirs of Hortense Mancini] 27

The Truth in Its Own Light by Marie Mancini 82


A Genealogical Chart of the Mazzarino and Mancini Families 175

B Map of Present-day Western Europe 177

C Map of Present-day France 179

D Map of Present-day Italy 181

Series Editors' Bibliography 183

Index 203

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