|About the Book|
Kleins book provides the opportunity to read in English the innovative narratives of an illustrious woman author who played a prominent role on the literary scene in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Marie-Catherine de Desjardins de VilledieuMoreKleins book provides the opportunity to read in English the innovative narratives of an illustrious woman author who played a prominent role on the literary scene in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Marie-Catherine de Desjardins de Villedieu produced over ten volumes of works that include plays, poetry, and narrative fictions. Todays critics attribute Villedieu with having created a new genre of literature, the nouvelle galante, in which the author recounts a series of gallant episodes, rather than the heroic actions so popular in the adventure stories of the first half of the 17th century. An example of this new literary genre, Les Amours des grands hommes is a collection of four pseudo-historical nouvelles that relate the love adventures of four famous men who lived in ancient times: Solon, Socrates, Julius Caesar, and Cato. Villedieu proposes to recount a personal and intimate version of their lives that represents these revered heroes in more realistic terms. This narrative process eventually would undermine the aristocratic representational system in 17th century France, and have far-reached effects on the 18th century gallant novel. First published in 1671, the stories were quickly translated into English in 1673 as The loves of sundry philosophers and other great men. Very few English editions of Villedieus works exist today. Kleins timely translation is an attempts to remedy this situation. Her introduction gives detailed historical and critical contexts for these narratives.