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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Marie, marquise de Sevigne


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Marie, marquise de Sevigne : [letters to her daughter - exact title uncertain]

'I have read some very delightful old books lately (for I now have just attained the wisdom to wish to make use of this ample library, and reject all borrowed or hired books) - Amongst others, two collections of letters, Sevigne's to her daughter, and Bussy Rabutin's to her and various others. The celebrity of these letters makes one ashamed to praise them; it is like saying Shakespear was a clever fellow: but I [underlined] will [end underlining] say, that their wit, their facility, their original humour; their arch simplicity, their every possible epistolary merit, surpass even their reputation. Having read a good many French Memoirs of that time, I enjoy the court details, and the scandal and gossip as much as Mde de Grignan could - and the witty stories occasionally inserted are [underlined] impayable [end underlining]. [SHB then describes at length the matter of some of the letters she has been reading, concluding...] It was a bright period for french intellects - Oh, how superior to the bright period of the Encyclopedists. at the time I am reading of, lived & wrote, Moliere, Corneille, Racine, La Rochfaucault [sic], Boilleau, celebrated Divines a million, and who were really good Christians; and Sevigne, and all her witty cluster of friends - and no jargon, & no frippery, & false philosophy among them - but sterling stuff, too good almost to be french'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Sarah Harriet Burney      Print: Book


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