Plot summary[ edit ] Mademoiselle de Chartres is a sheltered heiress, sixteen years old, whose mother has brought her to the court of Henri II to seek a husband with good financial and social prospects. After the wedding, she meets the dashing Duke de Nemours. The duke becomes enmeshed in a scandal at court that leads the Princess to believe he has been unfaithful in his affections.
Plot summary[ edit ] Mademoiselle de Chartres is a sheltered heiress, sixteen years old, whose mother has brought her to the court of Henri II to seek a husband with good financial and social prospects. After the wedding, she meets the dashing Duke de Nemours.
The duke becomes enmeshed in a scandal at court that leads the Princess to believe he has been unfaithful in his affections.
A letter from a spurned mistress to her paramour is discovered in the dressing room at one of the estates—a letter actually written to the Princess' uncle, the Vidame de Chartreswho has also become entangled in a relationship with the Queen.
He begs the Duke de Nemours to claim ownership of the letter, which ends up in the Princess' possession. The duke has to produce documents from the Vidame to convince the Princess that his heart has been true. She confesses as much.
He relentlessly quizzes her—indeed tricks her—until she reveals the man's identity. He becomes ill and dies either of his illness or of a broken heart.
On his deathbed, he blames the Duke de Nemours for his suffering and begs the Princess not to marry him. Now free to pursue her passions, the Princess is torn between her duty and her love.
The duke pursues her more openly, but she rejects him, choosing instead to enter a convent for part of each year. After several years, the duke's love for her does finally fade, and she, still relatively young, passes away in obscurity.
Her death marks a turning point for the princess as she struggles with her love. He is described in the novel as having "prudence rare in the young" and, although lacking in exciting characteristics in comparison with the Duke de Nemours, has financial and social stability in the court.
Madame de Tournon — A lady of the court who manages to have an affair with two men, Estouteville and the Count de Sancerre. The Duke often uses the Vidame as a way to his niece, the Princess, and in one case, takes blame for a letter that had fallen from the Vidame's pocket in order to secure his good grace.
Contemporary reception[ edit ] The novel was an enormous commercial success at the time of its publication, and would-be readers outside of Paris had to wait months to receive copies.
The novel also sparked several public debates, including one about its authorship, and another about the wisdom of the Princess' decision to confess her adulterous feelings to her husband.
Sales of the novel rose rapidly.Madame de Chartres dies. The Princess of Cleves mourns her and decides to avoid the company of the Duke of Nemours.
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The husband takes her away to the village. The Duke comes to visit the Prince of Cleves hoping to see the princess, but she does not accept him. The Princess of Cleves returns to Paris. THE CHARACTER OF THE PRINCE DE CLEVES. Essay question: 'The hero of the book is the Prince de Clèves'.
Discuss this statement with close reference to the book. La Princesse de Clèves is a French novel which was published anonymously in March It is regarded by many as the beginning of the modern tradition of the psychological novel, and as a great classic work.
The The Princesse de Cleves Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by community members like you. Characterize the love between the Princess of Cleves and Monsieur de Nemours.
One of the finest literary works ever written in French is a historical novel, La Princesse de Clèves, published in I first read it in high school, because it was part of the curriculum.
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