Jan 142010

So Jacob read Madame de Lafayette’s novel The Princess of Cleves yesterday and noted how it clearly influenced Madame Bovary (a sort of instruction-book idealized version of love set against the real thing). Then his lecturer this morning mentioned that a precursor of  The Princess of Cleves was Marguerite de Navarre’s 16th century short story collection Heptameron which contains, coincidentally, the first account of how a young French woman was marooned on an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence–which is, yes, the story on which my novel Elle is based. A sample title from the Heptameron: “The wife of a saddler of Amboise is saved on her deathbed through a fit of anger at seeing her husband fondle a servant-maid.”

I will stop mentioning Jake (well, probably not). It’s just that he’s reading more than I am (myself I am grinding slowly through Theodor Adorno’s essay “Cultural Criticism and Society”) and we have these fascinating conversations that get my brain going. This was a surprising little loop of a conversation.


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