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Distributed for Iter Press

Memoirs of the Count of Comminge and The Misfortunes of Love

Edited and Translated by Jonathan Walsh
These translations from the French bring two of Claudine-Alexandrine de Tencin’s novels back to life: The Memoirs of the Count of Comminge (1735), presented as a much-needed new translation, and The Misfortunes of Love (1747), appearing here for the first time in English. Published more than half a century after Marie-Madeleine de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, they belonged less to Tencin’s time than to the tradition of the “feminine historical novel” inspired by Lafayette. Beautifully written in the spare but powerful prose characteristic of French classicism and widely read both in Tencin’s lifetime and beyond, the novels were forgotten in the mid-nineteenth century. Like the work of Abbé Prévost and Pierre de Marivaux, they were important contributions to the early sentimental novel. They also anticipated, surprisingly, the gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe which appeared later in the century.

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"Over the last several decades we have discovered, in the novels of Jane Austen, a new continent of feminine fiction that is reshaping our understanding of her time. These early nineteenth-century novels would probably not exist were it not for the creations of Claudine-Alexandrine de Tencin and others like her from the reign of Louis XV. De Tencin personally experienced the constraints society imposed on all women who dared to affirm their desire or their will. Barred from the political sphere, she at least gained a new type of freedom in her love life, in the direction of her salon, and in her fictional inventions. Jonathan Walsh’s project deserves applause for making available in English these narratives intimately linked to the clarity of classical French, but which can be expressed in other languages."

Michel Delon, Paris IV, Sorbonne

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Foreword by Michel Delon 1
Introduction 7
Note on the Translation 27
Memoirs of the Count of Comminge 29
The Misfortunes of Love 63
Bibliography 141

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