Notorious Women: Marriage and the Novel in Crisis in France 1690–1710



Anxiety about the survival of family estates was high in the final decades of Louis XIV’s reign, when so many forces must have seemed to be conspiring to end an era of prosperity. The last peace treaty that brought the country substantial new territorial gain was signed in 1678. From then on, the national estate was consistently eroded, as the ageing monarch lost territories conquered when he was still the rising Sun King. Family estates were squandered to maintain the ostentatious pomp de rigueur at Versailles. And money was drained from all coffers to finance the enormous expense of an endless series of disastrous wars, wars that made many women widows when they were still young enough to renegotiate their legacies.


Literary History Public Justification Woman Writer Personal Fulfilment Divorce Proceeding 
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  1. 11.
    Marriage and the Family in 18th-Century France, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1980. See also Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500–1800, New York: Harper & Row, 1977;Google Scholar
  2. and Dominique Dessertine, Divorcer à Lyon sous la Révolution et l’Empire, Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    See, in particular, Jules Basdevant, Les Rapports de l’église et de l’état dans la législation du mariage du Concile de Trente au Code Civil (Société du Recueil général des lois et des arrêts du Journal du Palais, 1990), pp. 58, 190–1.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Henri Coulet, Le Roman jusqu’à la Révolution, 2 vols, (Colin, 1967) 1:290.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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