Clélia, an Excellent Romance: The Whole Work in Five Parts. Dedicated to Mademoiselle de Longueville.
Place and Imprint: London: Printed and Sold by H. Herringman, D. Newman, T. Cockerel, S. Heyrick, W. Cadman, S. Loundes, G. Marriot, W. Crook and C. Smith, 1678.
Edition: First complete translation in English of the five parts, preceded by their separate publications beginning in 1655.
Bibliographical References: ESTC R19972; Wing S2156.
Condition: A few smudges and small paper repairs, but overall a fine, large copy.
Book ID: 28718
Physical DescriptionFolio in fours, recent panelled calf period style, maroon morocco spine label, gilt lettering. Frontis portrait and folding map.
CommentsOne of the famous rambling, lengthy novels by Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701), a prominent, popular and prolific writer in 17th century France. She mastered the dialogue format, as well as fiction, and left a large body of philosophical dialogues on the moral virtues of the aristocratic world. Many of those related subjects (sociability, marriage, honor, decency, politeness, friendship, love and gender) are woven into the dialogue in Célie, set in ancient Rome. One character reflects on marriage: "It is more difficult than you think to be all at once a good husband, a successful lover and an honourable man; for to be a lover, one must be a slave; to be a respectable husband, one must be master, and to be an honourable man one should be neither one’s wife’s tyrant nor her slave.” The first part contains a famous folding map entitled Carte du Pays de Tendre - an allegorical map of love that charts the numerous obstacles one must overcome to achieve true love. Aphra Behn, a near-contemporary, was clearly influenced by Madeleine de Scudery, as was J. J. Rousseau decades later. Though her works are often scoffed at as being unreadable, she has recently attracted the interest of scholars in several fields: philosophy, early fiction - particularly by women - gender studies, etc. See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online for an excellent article on Scudéry. In this first English edition, parts 1-3 were translated by John Davies; parts 4-5 by George Havers.
See all items in French Literature, STC & Wing Books, Women Writers
See all items by MADELEINE DE SCUDERY