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Visualizing the Communication Circuits of The Princess of Cleves Or, why does the Princess renounce the man she loves?

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Presentation on theme: "Visualizing the Communication Circuits of The Princess of Cleves Or, why does the Princess renounce the man she loves?"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Visualizing the Communication Circuits of The Princess of Cleves Or, why does the Princess renounce the man she loves?

3 Duke de NemoursMlle. De Chartres The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 1: The Court of Henry II: “Ambition and love affairs were the life-blood of the court, absorbing the attention of men and women alike. There were countless interests at stake, countless different factions, and women played such a central part in them that love was always entangled with politics and politics with love.” (14) Hate

4 Duke de Nemours Mlle. De Chartres, Princess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Time-tracks of the relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 2: The magical effect of beauty: “There appeared at court in those days a young woman so beautiful that all eyes turned to gaze upon her.” (9) Mme de Chartres “was troubled by no fear that she was giving her daughter, in the Prince of Cleves, a husband whom she could not love.” (20) courts accepts

5 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 3: The Duke de Nemours appears at the ball: “He had such presence that it was difficult not to be taken aback…The King called to her to take the person who had just arrived…”(23)

6 Duke de NemoursMlle. De Chartres, Princess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 4: The Mother’s deathbed injunction to the Princess: “You have an inclination for M. de Nemours;…you are on the edge of a precipice….” (39-40) … Remember what you owe to your husband; … you are at the point of losing the reputation you have earned for yourself and I so much desired for you. … withdraw from the court.” (40) Injunction

7 Duke de Nemours Princess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 5: An Errant Letter disturbs the court Errant Letter “Her mind fastened on everything, in fact, that could possibly increase her distress and despair.” (72) news

8 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 6: Vadime to Nemours: “I have come to entrust to your confidence the most important affair of my life.”(74) Mme de Martigues A narrative Errant Letter Note

9 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 7: Nemours and the Princess solve a problem by forging a love-letter together Errant Letter Forged Letter “This atmosphere of mystery and secrecy had no small charm for Nemours and even for Mme de Cleves.” (89) She feels “a pure unmixed delight that was new to her, and from this delight came a mood of gaiety and freedom which M. de Nemours had never before seen in her”

10 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 8: The Princess retreats to Coulommiers and confesses to her husband that she loves another, while Nemours listens… The confession “I will make you a confession which no woman has ever made to her husband.” (95) “But Madame, you must now finish your story and tell me who it is that you wish to avoid.”

11 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 9: Nemours’ indiscretion: the Queen-Dauphone asks him: “Are you not the man who is in love with and loved by a woman at court who takes care to hide her passion from you but has confessed it to her husband?” A screened narrative Mme de Martigues reproach

12 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 10: Suspicion: the princess “found it equally impossible to believe that her husband had spoken and that he had not spoken” (111) “How have you used the extraordinary, or rather the foolish, trust that I placed in you?” (109) “You accuse me of having repeated what happened between the two of us, and you tell me the story is known? New distrust

13 Duke de Nemours Princess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 11: Narcissistic pleasure and intersubjective bliss Mme de Martigues Nemour s Likeness “To see a woman he adored in the middle of the night, in the most beautiful place in the world, to see her, without her knowing he was there, entirely absorbed in things connected with him and with the passion she was hiding from him— what lover has ever enjoyed or even imagined such delight?” (128)

14 Duke de Nemours Princess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 12: The Prince’s Deathbed Reproach to the Princess: “I am no longer in a condition to reproach you… but I am dying of the cruel blow you have struck me.” “How could an action as extraordinary as your confession to me at Coulommiers have had such meager consequences? Why reveal to me your passion for M. de Nemours if your virtue was not better equipped to resist it?... …Farewell, Madame; some day you will be sorry to have lost a man whose passion for you was both genuine and legitimate.” (136)

15 Duke de NemoursPrincess of Cleves The Prince of Cleves Mme de Themine Queen Dauphine, Mary Stuart Madame, the King’s sister Vidame de Chartres King Henry II Queen, Catherine de Medici Mme. De Chartres Relationships between Characters in The Princess of Cleves by Mme de Lafayette Duchess of Valentinois, or Diane de Poitiers 13: The first (and last) open talk between the lovers: “I have made up my find to answer you with a sincerity you will rarely find in persons of my sex.” (145) Nemours affirms her freedom “would you allow some phantom of duty to stand in the way of my happiness?” (147) “It is harder than you think, Madame, to resist someone who both attracts you and who loves you.” (150) Her renunciation of Nemours: “My duty forbids me ever to think of anyone, and of you less than any man alive…” “But how long does men’s passion last when the bond is eternal? …A woman may reproach a lover, but can she reproach a husband who has merely stopped loving her?” (148-9) “…I intend to remove myself from your sight.” (150)


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