You are here

Letters from Spain: A Seventeenth-Century French Noblewoman at the Spanish Royal Court Coming Soon

Marie Gigault de Bellefonds, Marquise de Villars was a well-regarded figure in Parisian salons and esteemed by King Louis XIV, and she traveled internationally to accompany her ambassador husband, playing significant diplomatic roles at the court of Savoy in Turin and at the court of Spain in Madrid. She became the confidante of the queen of Spain, Marie-Louise d’Orléans, the niece of Louis XIV, and, as instructed by the king of France, endeavored to pursue French political interests in Madrid with female members of royalty. This volume includes her surviving letters from Madrid to her friend Madame de Coulanges and an appendix of her letters sent from Paris and Turin. The letters from Spain, written between 1679 and 1681, paint a vivid and engaging picture of the royal court and its new queen.

“A correspondent of some of the most famed women writers of the age, Bellefonds-Villars dispatched a series of letters from the Spanish court of King Charles II, where her husband was King Louis XIV’s ambassador. Gender segregation in the Spanish court was such that this favorite of Charles II’s new bride, Marie-Louise d’Orléans, enjoyed a type of access denied her husband. Hester’s first-ever translation of these precious letters allows us to witness this épistolière’s metamorphosis into a back-channel diplomat, leveraging her relations with Marie-Louise d’Orléans so as to bend the Spanish monarch to the absolutist will of Louis XIV.”
- Nicholas Paige, University of California, Berkeley

NATHALIE HESTER is associate professor of French and Italian and director of European studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Literature and Identity in Italian Baroque Travel Writing.

Marie Gigault de Bellefonds, Marquise de Villars was a well-regarded figure in Parisian salons and esteemed by King Louis XIV, and she traveled internationally to accompany her ambassador husband, playing significant diplomatic roles at the court of Savoy in Turin and at the court of Spain in Madrid. She became the confidante of the queen of Spain, Marie-Louise d’Orléans, the niece of Louis XIV, and, as instructed by the king of France, endeavored to pursue French political interests in Madrid with female members of royalty. This volume includes her surviving letters from Madrid to her frie...

Read more +

book Details

  • Page Count:

    100 pages

  • Publication Year:

    2021

  • Publisher:

    Iter Press
  • Series:

    • The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 80

Print

USD$ 41.95 ISBN 978-1-64959-010-7 Order Print Book
Scroll to the top