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Another Look: Madame de La Fayette's La Princesse de Clèves

EVT 599
May 1
7:30 pm
Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall
Status: No Registration Required

The Another Look book club focuses on short classics that have been forgotten, neglected, or overlooked—or may simply not have received the attention they merit. The selected works are short, in order to encourage the involvement of Bay Area readers whose time may be limited. Subscription at anotherlook.stanford.edu is encouraged for regular updates and details on the selected books and events.

Madame de La Fayette's La Princesse de Clèves

Another Look concludes its seventh season with Madame de La Fayette's La Princesse de Clèves, which was published anonymously in 1678. The discussion will mark the first time Another Look has taken on a novel that predates the 20th century, but our readers will find the world it portrays a familiar one. Truly, the psychological novel did not begin with Henry James, but was born long before, in the world of 17th-century France.

The plot centers on the sixteen-year-old heiress Mademoiselle de Chartres, who comes to the court of Henri II to make a good match. The beautiful and virtuous girl marries the stolid Prince of Clèves, but then falls in love with the dashing and seductive Duke de Nemours. Considered by some to be the first modern novel, La Princesse de Clèves portrays a milieu of appearances and deceptions, rife with suspicion, passions, temptations, and jealousy. This penetrating, finely wrought novel reveals a society where competition is unending–whether in war, in courtly games and gestures, or amorous adventures.

Following the discussion will be a question-and-answer session with the panelists.

Robert Pogue Harrison
Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Stanford; Host of “Entitled Opinions” (KZSU Radio); Director, Another Look

Pierre Saint-Amand
Author; Benjamin F. Barge Professor of French, Yale

Chloe Edmondson
Graduate Student, Stanford
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