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Madame de Sévigné

For more on Mme de Sévigné (background information; list of letters to be studied), click here.

Listen to the lecture podcast and follow the powerpoint slides (click here to access these)

Read the following letters: 7, 10, 11, 17 (esp pp. 70 and 72-73), 41, 42, 43, 65



Each group should look at ONE of the following concepts in relation to the letters set for reading, as set out below.

In your groups you should note down pertinent examples from the letters during your discussion of the concept (note letter no, page no; if you are working from a different edition, make sure you note down examples where you can find them for reference in the seminar):

  • Expression of rivalry / tension
  • Health: sickness and well-being; the female body
  • The language of passion and of intimacy
  • Voice of the daughter in the text

As you work together, please also think about the genre of the letter that Mme de Sévigné is using:

  • What do the letters have to say about epistolary exchange (this takes into account audience; place of writing; the postal service; conventions with respect to language and form)
Research topic

How might you formulate a research topic relating to Sévigné's mother-daughter correspondance? Areas you might consider include:

  • the language of intimacy and emotion in 17th century France
  • the place of the letter in 17th century France
  • the role of the salon
  • the place of theory in analysing mother-daughter relations in this period



Each group should choose 3 terms of interest that emerge from the text or from secondary reading and add them to the glossary.