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The cultural code in La princesse de Cleves 1978

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THE CULTURAL CODE IN LA PRINGESSE DE CLEVES by ; LENORE JANE DAVIS B.A., University of British Columbia, 1 9 7 6 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of French) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1 9 ? 8 (c) Lenore Jane Davis, 1 9 7 8 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requ i rement s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I ag ree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f FRENCH The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1W5 OCTOBER 10, 1978 i i This study of Madame de l a Payette's La Prlncesse de Cleves proceeds from a general overview of the cultural and social mores presented in the novel to examine the s t y l i s t i c components upon which i t i s structured—the maxim or generali- zing statement. It brings into play the relationship between the author and her audience, the questions of cultural and crea- tive verisimilitude, and the seventeenth and twentieth-century c r i t i c a l reactions to the novel. Through close textual analysis, a definition of the cultural code, i t s content and i t s manifestation in the novel, i s revealed. The code's foundation on public opinion and social practice i s demonstrated in the numerous maxims and generalizing statements which support or contradict specific actions in the novel. The question of conformity or non-conformity to the code as illustrated by actions leads into a discussion of verisimilitude in the novel as a whole. The seventeenth century's insistence upon cultural vralsemblance i s contrasted with the twentieth- century concepts of naturalization and creative vralsemblance. While this study finds that for the twentieth-century reader there may be some lapses of understanding with regard to small details of l i f e in the society which Is described in the novel, i t nonetheless shows that La Prlncesse de Gleves observes the prescriptions of i t s genre, the conventions of vraisemblance as they apply to the novel, and that Mme de l a Fayette warrants consideration for her avant garde approach to recording the effects of the social attitudes of her time. Contents I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Background, P a r t i c i p a t i o n , and Judgements 7 Acceptance, R e f u s a l , and M a n i p u l a t i o n 22 R e s t r i c t i o n s , C o n f l i c t s , and R e s o l u t i o n s 35 S t e r e o t y p e s , Laws, and Suggestions k6 R e a c t i o n s , Defence, and S t r a t e g y 59 C o n c l u s i o n 74 Footnotes 86 L i s t of Works C i t e d 89 I wish to thank Dr. H. C. Knutson for his advice and encouragement, my parents for their support, and J. A. Shaw for my freedom. Introduction The existence of a social unit—be i t a family, a tribe, or a nation—dictates the existence of a set of rules which govern the activity within the group, determining who may join, what members may and may not do, and what punishments w i l l be handed out to transgressors against the rules. These rules form a code of conduct which we c a l l the "cultural code". The cultural code is defined by the society to which i t refers, and for this reason i t i s constantly changing to agree with modd fications in the society which inspired It; but at any given mo- ment in history, the prescriptions of a cultural code appear inalterable and inflexible, determining good and bad people, appropriate and inappropriate conduct, reward and punishment. As Peter Brooks points out In the introduction to The Novel of Worldllness. the concept of society in Prance in^the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has two aspects, the f i r s t being "the whole of organized human existence" and the second "the self- conscious *being together' of an e l i t e " . These two aspects are virtually one for the novelists whose work is inspired by this social milieu, since they do not consider that there Is any group outside the el i t e which is worthy of thought or mention. In the seventeenth century, i t i s particularly noticeable that societe i s more than a simple means of establishing social order under the rules of a cultural code. The concept of society is "an object of conscious cultivation" for the members of the el i t e whose world revolves around observing appropriate blen- seances and decorum and whose literature i s oriented toward protecting and increasing the importance of their cultural code. La Prlncesse de Gleves is a product of this overdeveloped 2 and overemphasized sense of s o c i e t e which c h a r a c t e r i z e s the seventeenth century but i t i s by no means a p o s i t i v e t e s t i m o n i a l to the g r e a t n e s s of the s o c i e t y which i n s p i r e d i t . In the n o v e l Mme de l a Payette p r e s e n t s a d e s c r i p t i o n of her s o c i a l m i l i e u which i n c l u d e s an account of i t s c u l t u r a l code, and she shows the e f f e c t s of t h i s s o c i e t y and i t s requirements on the people who l i v e i n i t . The author r e f e r s to many of the p r e s c r i p t i o n s of the c u l t u r a l code i n her d e s c r i p t i o n s of the a t t i t u d e s and the behaviour which c h a r a c t e r i z e the members of the c o u r t , and i n most cases statements of what i s a p p r o p r i a t e conduct l n s o c i e t y are I m p l i c i t l n the a c t i o n s and words of her c h a r a c t e r s . At some times Mme de l a Payette r e v e a l s r u l e s of conduct i n e x p l i c i t terms, but these maxims are c o m p a r a t i v e l y few i n number. The c u l t u r a l code which governs the l i v e s of the c h a r a c t e r s i n the n o v e l i s e s s e n t i a l l y the same as that which governs both the author's and the seventeenth-century r e a d e r ' s l i v e s ; f o r t h i s reason Mme de l a Payette can r e l y a g r e a t d e a l upon her r e a d e r ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n t o i n s u r e t h a t the i m p l i c i t d e s c r i p t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code i s understood. In so f a r as almost every novel p r e s e n t s an h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d of a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i e t y , the interdependence of the ' r e a l ' world and the ' l i t e r a r y ' world i s very s t r o n g . Whatever may be presented as l i f e i n a l i t e r a r y s e t t i n g must, i n order to be i n t e l l i g i b l e to the r e a d e r , be p o s s i b l e (not n e c e s s a r i l y probable) i n the realm of what t h i s r e ader views as the r e a l world. T h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between events i n a n o v e l and t h e i r c o r r e s p o n d i n g r e a l - l i f e o ccurrences i s d e s c r i b e d i n the complex concept of vralsemblance. Where La P r l n c e s s e de Cleves i s concerned, we c a l l i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n two broad c a t e g o r i e s of 3 vraisemblance—cultural and creative—against which the events of the novel may be measured. The cultural code which operates in the novel i s the same as that which applies to the reader, and most of the characters conduct themselves in accordance with the code; there i s , therefore, seldom any doubt about cul- tural verisimilitude in the novel's action. The cultural vrai- semblance is only questionable in two scenes—the confession and the Princesse's declaration of love in her last encounter with Nemours—and while the author's apparent lack of considera- tion for the rules of the cultural code in these Instances formed the basis for literary condemnation on the part of her c r i t i c a l contemporaries, they do Illustrate Mme de l a Payette's respect for creative vraisemblance in view of the characters that she has created. By creative vraisemblance we are referring to what Jonathan Culler calls "the text or conventions of a genre, a specifically literary and a r t i f i c i a l vraisemblance" which allows an author's specific "imaginative world" to determine the verisimilitude of the events and actions which take place in 2 his works. Mme de l a Payette has created a woman who does not conform to the cultural stereotype accepted at the time, and she emphasizes this uniqueness in her commentaries. Since Mme de Cleves i s defined as abnormal, her actions could not be "normal"- and s t i l l be vraisemblable with respect to the char- acter as she has been created. The question of vraisemblance—the believability of the events of a novel in relation to what the reader views as the reality of his own l i f e — i s a f e r t i l e area of criticism in modern studies of the novel. Jonathan Culler and Gerard Genette 4 have "both recently produced studies of the literary structures and conventions which render the f i c t i o n a l world of the novel meaningful to i t s "real-world" readers. Both authors refer to the use of the maxim or generalizing statement as an effective, though perhaps a r t i f i c i a l , technique through which the f i c t i o n a l may be related to the real, and both use La Prlncesse de Gleves as an example of a novel which has been c r i t i c i z e d for a lack of verisimilitude. Bernard Pingaud, too, discusses the c r i - t i c a l reaction to the novel's questionable vralsemblance and observes the author's frequent use of maxims. Genette, on the other hand, notes "1'absence a peu pres complete de maxlmes generales" (p. 78) in La Prlncesse de Cleves and c r i t i c i z e s Pingaud for his contention that maxims abound in the novel. We shall try to show in the following pages that Pingaud i s closer to the mark; indeed, our study takes the maxim or generali- zing statements as the basic structure upon which Mme de l a Fay- ette's literary world i s constructed, and through which the cultural code of this world is defined. The vralsemblance of the novel can only be determined in relation to the novel's specific world. To this end, our study w i l l examine the nature of the prescriptions of the cultural code, the way in which they are presented, and the effects of the code upon the charac- ters; we hope thus to determine the extent to which the charac- ters' actions are believable in terms of their part in the culture and society of the novel. Our f i r s t chapter w i l l discuss the interdependent relation- ship between the author and reader where implicit presentation of the code is concerned. The relationship is established through the author's narrative technique which relies heavily on 5 generalization and allusion. Many details of the code are also contained in descriptions containing value judgements which relate to the actions and qualities of various characters. A l l of these descriptions present a background, a picture of the social norm, against which the actions of the principals characters may be reflected. Our second chapter w i l l deal with the social reper- cussions of acceptance of the cultural code and of refusal to comply with i t s guidelines. The characters find that accepting the prescriptions of the code results in individual frustrations and misunderstandings, but also in social approval; while refusing the guidelines results in a measure of personal freedom, but also in social disfavorv Their attempts to manipulate the code in the interests of achieving their personal goals form an inte- gral part of the novel's action and illustrate the control which the cultural code exerts on their lives. The third chapter de- fines the restrictive nature of the code i t s e l f which is mirrored in the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the courtly society. The duplicity which is required in everyday l i f e creates psychological conflicts for the characters who find themselves unable or powerless to cope with the essential and constant opposition between reality and a r t i f i c i a l i t y . Our fourth chapter discusses explicit statements which, for the most part, support the information about the cultural code that Is presented implicitly in the author's descriptions. These statements by both the author and the characters contain both openly stated and inferred maxims regarding cultural and role stereotypes, generally accepted truths about rules of con- duct and human nature, and suggestions of generally accepted - truths which may be inferred from actions which do not exemplify 6 the cultural norm. The f i f t h chapter deals with maxims relating to l i f e in the seventeenth-century society which are presented by the characters and which contain an element of underlying strategy. These maxims are stated either in reaction to c i r - cumstances dictated by the cultural code, in defense of an i n - dividual's actions, or in an attempt to have another character modify his behaviour. These strategies are a l l essentially dictated by the restrictive nature of the cultural code. Our concluding chapter deals mainly with the question of verisimilitude as i t relates to the cultural code presented in the novel. A brief sketch of the seventeenth-century c r i t i c a l reaction to La Prlncesse de Gleves leads into a discussion of the modern approach to vra1semblance which deals less with historical and cultural considerations than with those dictated by the novel as a creative entity. The cultural code in the world of the novel contains more than just the general guide- lines of appropriate conduct which should apply to a l l characters as members of a society. It must also consider the psychology of individual characters in deciding what actions are appropriate to them in certain circumstances. It i s our intent to show, through a close analysis of the text i t s e l f from a structural, though not processional, point of view, that the cultural code which i s presented in a given novel, and which governs the actions of the characters, i s the sole determining factor of the verisimilitude of the events ln such a novel, and that this code is independent, in the fi n a l analysis, of any corresponding r e a l - l i f e code of conduct. 7 Background, P a r t i c i p a t i o n , and Judgements Mme de l a Fayette's novel reveals the structure and workings of her society. Her descriptions of the people at the c o u r t — t h e i r emotions, actions, and physical make-up—contain a l l u s i o n s to an accepted c u l t u r a l code which governs t h e i r l i v e s . La Prlhcesse de Gleves presents a general overview of the s o c i a l I n s t i t u t i o n s which f a c i l i t a t e s the reader's i n i t i a l comprehension of the heroine's dilemma. But there i s a deeper dimension to the novel which becomes evident as one pays closer attention to the author's s t y l e . Through generalization and vagueness i n descrip- t i o n the author c a l l s upon the reader for understanding and par- t i c i p a t i o n i f s p e c i f i c d e t a i l s of the c u l t u r a l code are to be discovered. Mme de l a Fayette's descriptions also contain value judgements which i n turn furnish d e t a i l s of the q u a l i t i e s — b o t h desirable and undesirable—that are found in the people who make up t h i s society. Through an examination of these descriptions the reader who may be unfamiliar with the seventeenth-century society can put together a background against which the actions of the p r i n c i p a l characters may be r e f l e c t e d to show t h e i r con- formity or nonconformity to the prescribed s o c i a l norms. The action of La Princesse de Cleves furnishes, i n general terms, useful background information about the seventeenth-century s o c i a l structure. The court i t s e l f i s the most important i n s t i - t u t i o n i n t h i s society. It i s the centre of a l l a c t i v i t y — p o l i - t i c a l and s o c i a l — a n d the royal family i s at i t s hub. It i s a closed c i r c l e where only those deemed to be of a c e r t a i n merit may enter, and only upon i n v i t a t i o n . To be favoured at the court i s to l i v e a comfortable l i f e ; to f a l l from favour, whether through unfortunate family contacts, a personal misdeed, or a 8 change in royal personnel, can result in banishment from the court, as illustrated in the description of the events follow- ing the King's death.^ A great deal of an individual's social standing and power is defined by his relationship with a member of the royal family. Just as being a counsellor, friend, or messenger of the King has i t s benefits, so those who are favoured by membership in the Queen's ci r c l e or that of the King's sister enjoy the pleasures of a certain social distinction, however temporary and unstable the situation may be. P o l i t i c a l intrigue (both domestic and International) forms an integral part of courtly l i f e . Relationships between the various heads of state are common knowledge and marriage between the royal families, while being perhaps a private scandal ln terms of the society's concept of the participants* relative worths, is recognized to be an assurance of good international relations as well as a step toward achieving some measure of external p o l i t i c a l control. Marriage within the courtly society is both a social and a p o l i t i c a l Institution, and depends more upon what external benefits may be gained from a particular union than on the internal feelings between the two people Involved. Social rank, family connections, and royal sanction combine to eliminate love 7 as a criterion or even a consideration in marriage. Although love may not figure in the matrimonial scene, i t nevertheless exists in the society in the guise of galanterle. where i t assumes a double aspect. It is permitted, or rather tolerated, that a woman may have a lover, as long as the aff a i r is discreet and compromises no one. Men, on the other hand, may discuss their amorous endeavors and are admired for the wide scope of their adventures. Love ln i t s e l f is recognized by a l l to be a powerful 9 and unpredictable emotion which is a driving force at the centre of the society's activity. Everyday social practices at the court are well-defined and members of this society are expected to observe them. The day i s categorized in terms of act i v i t i e s which take place during a specified time period. There i s a set hour at which one is expected to be prepared to receive"visits from one's friends; there is a specified time during which one i s expected to make an appearance at the court; there are appropriate hours set aside for personal necessities—dining, sleeping, w r i t i n g — and for public functions—banquets, balls, sporting events. Failure to appear at an appointed time or being unprepared or ill-disposed to receive visitors i s a subject of public specu- lation and necessitates an i n f a l l i b l e excuse (sickness, duties Q elsewhere:) i f social decorum is to be observed. Residence near the site of the court is required due to the nature of the relationship between the King and his counsellors and representa- tives. Almost a l l of these men have land in the country where they and their wives may sojourn for a limited time. To be away from the court for a longer than normal period of time without good reason may be interpreted as indicating a lack of desire for or devotion to duty. Royal f e s t i v i t i e s such as the King's sister's marriage require everyone's attention and participation especially i f international relations are Involved, since this allows the King to show off his fine taste and judgement in people. As for the expectations, responsibilities, and conduct of individuals, these are no less r i g i d l y defined than are the characteristics of social institutions and practices. Men are expected to be duty-bound to the wishes and commands of their 1 0 sovereign even at the expense of personal and domestic desires and well-being. They w i l l excel at, enjoy, and understand war, and w i l l appreciate the value of mock combat as a forum for their s k i l l s and as a method of gaining the admiration of their women. Men are encouraged to be ambitious in p o l i t i c s , war.games, and love (as long as they do not encroach on the sovereignty of the King himself) for these are the animating forces of seventeenth- century society.^ The woman's role is equally clearly defined. To marry well is her main concern, and once married, to show respect, admiration, and devotion to her husband is her duty. She is expected to distinguish herself through attention to her physical attractiveness, through her knowledge of the arts, and through her virtuous and socially appropriate behavior. Her public role includes attending and hosting social meetings (salons) and appearing at the court ln such a manner as to bring added admiration to her husband.*^ It is quite proper for people to confide secrets to members of the opposite sex but more common to choose a confidant of the same sex. Honesty Is a quality that i s valued only when the subject of conversation i s pleasing to both parties, and although i t i s , in theory, a praiseworthy aspect of most relationships, in practice there is l i t t l e evidence that honesty is at a l l W e i - l l come or valued in love affairs or marriage. The rules of appro priate conduct which apply to a l l members of the society leave l i t t l e room for personal interpretation. The acceptable length of time for a period of mourning, the amount of secrecy permitted for an individual's private af f a i r s , an individual's style of dress and manner of presentation at public a f f a i r s — a l l i s defined and regulated by social pressure and tradition. Any 1 1 deviation from the norm i s i n s t a n t l y subject to public scrutiny and must be well explained i f the i n d i v i d u a l i s to continue to f i n d favour i n h i s s o c i a l m i l i e u . While the general rules of conduct i n seventeenth-century society may be discerned from the action of the novel, s p e c i f i c actions and attitudes are harder for the twentieth-century reader to make out. Mme de l a Payette r e l i e s heavily on her seventeenth- century reader's experience and knowledge to f i l l i n the gaps l e f t by her use of vague and imprecise vocabulary i n her descrip- tions of the court, i t s members, and s o c i a l p r a ctices. Bernard Pingaud, i n Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme. presents a repre- sentative l i s t of nouns, adjectives, and verbs which are taken from the descriptive passage with which the novel opens, that of the court of Henri II (Pingaud, p. 1 3 9 ) - He points out the author's use of i n d i r e c t discourse to achieve a distancing e f f e c t , and suggests that her emphasis on abstractions-eliminates the p o s s i b i l i t y of a close association between the reader and the text—two att r i b u t e s which are important to the appreciation of the roman d'analyse. We f i n d , however, that there i s another dimension to the author's use of imprecise vocabulary, one which relates to our discussion of an i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code. When describing individuals at the court, Mme de l a Fayette speaks i n abstractions. Her subjects possess de bonnes qualites; they enjoy l e s b e l l e s choses; they are bien f a i t ; and they are a H d'honnetes gens. There i s much mention of mental a t t r i b u t e s which are described i n terms of amplitude but which remain, none- theless, imprecise: ". . . i l avait un e s p r i t vaste et profond, une ame noble et elevee . . ."(p. 1 3 1 ) • The r e p e t i t i o n of and emphasis placed upon the concept of qualite cannot be ignored, 1 2 and yet i t i s defined exclusively in terms of physical attractive- ness, mental prowess, and social graces and Insight: "Le vidame de Chartres . . . etait "beau, de bonne mine, vaillant, hardi, l i b e r a l ; toutes ces bonnes qualites etaient vives et eclatantes;" (p. 1 3 2 ) . "'Rien ne me peut empecher de connaitre que vous etes ne avec toutes les dispositions pour la galanterie et toutes les qualites qui sont propres a. y dormer des succes heureux'" (pp. 3 0 6 - 0 7 ) . A l l of the characters in La Prlncesse de Gleves are "people of quality". They are educated, socially aware aristocrats (or servants of such people) who instinctively understand the un- written code of appropriate social conduct and who recognize instantly the physical and mental elements which constitute "quality". Their social environment is rigidly structured, a close c i r c l e where, as Pingaud states, "le ceremonial de l a pas- sion peut se derouler dans toute sa rigueur" (p. 1 * 1 4 ) . The concept of passion, i t s causes and effects, i s well comprehended by most of these characters, and the practice of galanterie i s accepted as an integral part of their l i v e s — s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l ; p r i - vate and publics "L'ambition et l a galanterie etaient l'ame de cette cour, et occupaient egalement les hommes et les femmes. II y avait tant d'lnterets et tant de cabales differentes, et les dames y avaient tant de part que 1*amour etait toujours mele aux affaires et les affaires a. 1'amour" (p. 1 ^ 2 ) . The seventeenth-century reader, too, was a ^person of quality 1 since only the privileged aristocracy had the time for and the inclination towards education. Given, then, the close resem- blance in physical, mental, and social characteristics between the reader and the people about whom he is reading, i t is not 13 at a l l surprising that Mme de l a Payette should neglect to define the actions and attri b u t e s which make up un honnete homme de bonne qua l i t e . The reader i s asked to draw upon hi s own know- ledge of a r i s t o c r a t i c society to furnish descriptive d e t a i l s . When he reads that M. de Nemours i s un chef d'oeuvre de l a nature, he has only to bring together a l l the pleasing t r a i t s of the gentlemen i n his s o c i a l c i r c l e to create his own composite i d e a l of physical attractiveness. And when appropriate s o c i a l conduct i s alluded to, the reader merely consults his personal experience i n a sim i l a r s i t u a t i o n and supplies the missing words, actions, and reactions. Descriptions of characters* physical t r a i t s and actions are not the only area i n which the author requires the complai- sance and p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the reader to f i l l i n d e t a i l s . Mme de l a Fayette also alludes to various ceremonials and practices i n the society at the court without giving p a r t i c u l a r s about or rationales f o r them. When the author states that Anne de Boulen "avait l e s manieres de Prance qui plaisent a toutes l e s nations" (p. 199), she assumes that the reader i s f a m i l i a r enough with these manieres that further c l a r i f i c a t i o n i s unnecessary. The reader would understand, through his own experience, the various honneurs, agrements. and ceremonies which greet p r i v i l e g e d v i s i - tors to the court, while his concept of the appropriate c l v l l i t e s and his knowledge of the code of blenseance as practised i n his own s o c i a l environment would supply him with a perfect picture of what exactly a ce r t a i n person would do i n a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a - t i o n . When Mme de l a Payette says that Mile de Chartres, a f t e r being caught off guard by an approving glance from M. de Cleves, manages to recover "sans temoigner d*autre attention aux actions 14 de ce prince que celle que l a c i v i l i t e l u i devait donner pour un homme tel qu'il paraissait"(p. 138), the reader has no trouble imagining the tone of voice, the choice of words, and the type of actions which constitute this manifestation of appropriate and required c i v i l i t e . Mme de l a Fayette's preference of vague abstractions and allusions over concrete description and statement is indicative of a certain cultural bond between author and public in that they possess similar moral viewpoints and social understanding. The author uses other techniques which assume that this bond extends to include social situations. Through the use of the generalizing pronoun on (l'on peut juger, l'on peut s'imaginer) and the use of the adjective tout ( " i l sentit tout ce que l a passion peut faire sentir . . .") she assumes that i t i s unnecessary to describe the actual physical responses to the emotion since the reader can f i l l out the picture from his own experience. The same detach- ment of which Pingaud speaks (p. 1 3 9 ) exists here in that a partic- ular emotion i s reduced to the level of a common or generally appreciated response. But more specifically or, perhaps, more importantly, Mme de l a Fayette i s trying, through her emphasis on reader participation, to eliminate the possibility that the reader might consider the characters' responses extraordinary. For example, when Mme de Chartres's plans to marry her daughter to the prince de Montpensier are thwarted by p o l i t i c a l manipu- lation, Mme de l a Fayette writes: "L'on peut juger ce que sentit Mme de Chartres par l a rupture d'une chose qu'elle avait tant desiree, dont le mauvais succes donnait un s i grand avantage a ses ennemis et fai s a i t un s i grand tort a sa f i l l e " ( p . 146). And when Mme de Chartres makes i t clear that she knows her daughter's penchant for Nemours, the author describes Mme de Cleves's reactions "L'on ne peut exprimer l a douleur qu'elle sentit de connaftre par ce que l u i venait de dire sa mere, l'interet qu'elle prenait a M. de Nemours . . ."(p. 1 6 9 ) . The assumption here i s that a l l people who may have encountered situations similar to these would have reacted in a similar man- ner and that the reader, who would logically be one of these people, would be able to supply the necessary physical responses which go with a seventeenth-century f i t of fury or remorse. Mme de l a Fayette makes extensive use of the imprecise and generalizing adjective tout. It is applied at liberty to l a polltesse, les belles choses, les honnetes ĝ ens, les agrements. les sentiments, les bonnes qualltes, les bienseances. l a magnifi- cence , and les ceremonies. It is ah all-encompassing expression of generality used to convey an idea of extreme magnitude and to avoid long and tedious detailed descriptions, for, after a l l , her reader would understand and supply a l l the details anyway. But where emotions such as joy and jealousy are concerned, this adjective i s used to ensure that the particular is interpreted as the commonplace. For example, Nemours, when Informed by the King that he is to court the Queen of England, receives the news "avec toute l a joie que peut avoir un jeune homme ambitieux qui se volt porte au tr6ne par sa seule reputation"(p. 1 5 2 ) . The author here assumes that the reader i s able to gauge the magnitude of this emotion and to picture the physical and mental responses that would characterize i t based on his concept of how such an honour would be received by a p o l i t i c a l l y and socially ambitious man. Not only i s the reader familiar with the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and offshoots of ambition as i t appears i n h i s s o c i a l milieu. He i s also experienced i n the repercussions and associated states of mind which accompany the other d r i v i n g force i n the seventeenth century, love. When Mme de Gleves reads the l e t t e r said to be from another lady to Nemours, she f a l l s prey to jealousy for the f i r s t time i n her young l i f e : ". . . ce mal, qu'elle trouvait s i insupportable, e t a i t l a jalousie avec toutes les horreurs dont e l l e peut etre accompagnee"(p. 2 1 3 ) . Mme de Cleves does not recognize t h i s emotion hers e l f , but Mme de l a Payette does, and knows that her reader, too, i s f a m i l i a r with a l l the horreurs inherent therein. Mme de l a Payette's descriptions of s o c i a l decorum as well as the physical, mental, and emotional make-up of her seventeenth- century subjects provide a wide margin for personal i n t e r p r e t a t i o n through t h e i r vagueness and generality. But, at the same time, they present a f a i r l y detailed picture of what i s accepted and expected from the society of the time. In many cases, physical d e t a i l s of description are lacking while value judgements abound, a fa c t not surprising considering that the guidelines of accept- able behavior are c l e a r l y delineated and understood by both reader and author. These valuesjudgements are found i n three major categories of descriptionss physical beauty, mental and s o c i a l a t t r i b u t e s , and action. Where physical beauty i s concerned, variants of the impre- cis e adjectives p a r f a i t and Men figure prominently. Mary Stuart i s described as "une personne parfa i t e pour l ' e s p r i t et pour l e corps . . . e l l e . . . avait p r i s toutesla p o l i t e s s e , et e l l e e t a i t nee avec tant de dispositions pour toutes l e s b e l l e s choses que, malgre sa grande jeunesse, e l l e l e s aimait et s'y 1 7 connaissait mieux que personne"(p. 1 3 0 ) ; and Mile de Chartres as "une beaute . . . qui a t t i r a l e s yeux de tout l e monde, et l'on doi t c r o i r e que c ' e t a i t une beaute p a r f a i t e , puisqu'elle donna de 1 'admiration dans un l i e u ou l'on e t a i t s i accoutume a v o i r de b e l l e s personnes"(p. 1 3 6 ) . The value of perfect physi- c a l beauty cannot be underestimated i n a society where love and amorous intrigues p r e v a i l over a l l s o c i a l a c t i v i t y and where f i r s t impressions and outward appearances constitute the basis f o r i n i t i a t i n g these a c t i v i t i e s . I t i s obvious to the reader both from h i s own experience and from the style of these pas- sages that a woman's value i s measured, at le a s t i n part, i n terms of her physical countenance. Where men are concerned, however, there seems to be some ambiguity. The vidame de Chartres i s described approvingly as a s t r i k i n g l y handsome man, yet Nemours i s at the same time heralded as a masterpiece of nature's handiwork and "condemned" f o r being the most handsome man i n the world: "Le vidame de Chartres . . . e t a i t egalement distingue dans l a guerre et dans l a galanterie. II e t a i t beau, de bonne mine, v a i l l a n t , hardi, l i b e r a l . . . enfin i l e t a i t seul digne d'etre compare au due de Nemours, s i quelqu'un l u i eilt pu etre comparable. Mais ce prince e t a i t un chef-d'oeuvre de l a nature; ce q u ' i l avait de moins admirable, c ' e t a i t d'etre l'homme du monde l e mieux f a i t et l e plus beau"(p. 1 3 2 ) . I t would appear that, f o r a man, some measure of value may be gained through physical attractiveness, but d i s t i n c t i o n ( i n terms of action) on the b a t t l e f i e l d or i n the sitting-room seems to be a more important c r i t e r i o n . Where mental and s o c i a l awareness are concerned, value i s measured i n terms of wit, charm, and decorum. The introductory 18 sketch of the court of Henri II (pp. 1 3 0 - 3 2 ) contains descriptions of men and women who are admired for their bel esprit, for their appreciation of les "belles choses, and for their knowledge of and f a c i l i t y with les manieres. The concept of esprit, although imprecisely defined, is interpreted in a positive manner by the author since i t appears almost exclusively in the context of favourable description, and i t is a major factor in determining the quality of an individual—so important a consideration, in fact, that during this description the word esprit appears seven times in two paragraphs. An appreciation for the arts—poetry, music, painting, l a cornedie—is an equally valued distinction for both men and women, as are eloquence and verbal alacrity. An inbred f a c i l i t y with and acceptance of appropriate social conduct and an innate knowledge of the behaviour which characterizes a person of q u a l i t y — i n short, a perfect ease and comprehension of blenseance and a l l that i t entails—furnishes the basis for a positive judgement of both sexes. There i s , however, one realm of social activity where the value of men and women is judged on different c r i t e r i a , and that is l a galanterie. Whereas Mme de Cleves and women of her rank are valued and respected for their virtue and piety, Nemours and his cohorts gain admiration through their amorous intrigues and conquests. We have seen that, where men are concerned, actions in the areas of war and love constitute a basis for judging their merit. Physical prowess ln jousts and mock combat in the form of tourna- ments serves as another criterion for measuring a man's quality as seen in the opening descriptive sketch of the court and in the scene of the f e s t i v i t i e s which accompany the King's sister's marriage to the due d'Albe. Social actions, too, constitute a b a s i s f o r a s s e s s i n g the measure of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s q u a l i t y . Knowing how and when to approach a woman so as not to o f f e n d her sense of decorum by a t t r a c t i n g p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n i s one of Nemours's t a l e n t s : ". . . i l se r e s o l u t de manquer p l u t o t a. l u i donner des marques de sa p a s s i o n que de hasarder de l a f a i r e c o n n a l t r e au p u b l i c " ( p . 1 6 3 ) . Mme de l a F a y e t t e approves of t h i s "conduite s i sage" and l a t e r condemns Nemours f o r d e p a r t i n g from t h i s l i n e of a c t i o n when he comits "une imprudence" by t e l l i n g h i s f r i e n d , the vidame, about Mme de C l e v e s ' s c o n f e s s i o n (p. 2 ^ 5 ) . A d r o i t n e s s i n managing a f f a i r e s de g a l a n t e r i e w i t h i n the r i g i d l i m i t s of d e f i n e d s o c i a l l y a c c e p t a b l e behaviour i s a p o s i t i v e a t t r i b u t e f o r men, w h i l e adeptness i n p u b l i c l y a v o i d i n g or r e b u f f i n g amorous advances and l n a r r a n g i n g and m a i n t a i n i n g c l a n d e s t i n e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s p r a i s e d i n women. I t i s Indeed a paradox t h a t what i s r e s p e c t e d and admired i n the one sex operates i n such a manner as to reduce the r e s p e c t and a d m i r a t i o n of the o t h e r . M. de Gleves, on h i s deathbed, t e l l s h i s w i f e t h a t she w i l l r e g r e t the l o s s of h i s l o v e and r e s p e c t f o r her v i r t u e when she comes to r e a l i z e t h a t a l l Nemours seeks i s to seduce her: "Adieu, Madame, vous r e g r e t t e r e z quelque jour un homme qui vous a i m a i t d'une p a s s i o n v e r i t a b l e e t l e g i t i m e . Vous s e n t i r e z l e c h a g r i n que t r o u v e n t l e s personnes r a i s o n n a b l e s dans ces engage- ments, e t vous c o n n a i t r e z l a d i f f e r e n c e d ' e t r e aimee, comme je vous a i m a i s , a l ' e t r e par des gens q u i , en vous temoignant de 1'amour, ne cherchent que l'honneur de vous s e d u i r e " ( p . 2 9 1 ) . These statements i l l u s t r a t e a depth of understanding and a mea- sure of i n n a t e r e s p e c t where women are concerned t h a t are not expected of the i d e a l seventeenth-century gentleman. While M. de Gleves, proud of h i s " p a s s i o n v e r i t a b l e " and of h i s r e s p e c t 20 for a woman's virtue, cannot survive in his society, Nemours, who sees a woman's virtue not as a quality to be admired and respected but rather as an obstacle to be surmounted in the pur- suit of personal glory, i s praised and idolized by his peers. While open demonstrations of their v i r i l i t y i s admired in men, i t is the opposite of what is respected in women. Tolerance, submission, deference, masked emotions—self-denial, in most respects—are the meritorious characteristics of the "weaker" sex. Whether Mme de l a Fayette agrees with the concept that wo- men should accept, without question, the role defined for them in their society i s not clearly discernable from her text. She does, however, show admiration for Henri II's wife who tolerates the existence of the King's mistress without exhibiting any out- ward signs of jealousy (p. 1 3 0 ) . This tolerance i s hardly a sign of a weak s p i r i t (the Queen shows much self-assurance in her liaison with the vidame) and should be viewed as a good example of how a well-bred woman handles an uncomfortable situation. The gist of Mme de Chartres's lessons to her daughter i s that Mme de Cleves should respect her husband, be cognizant of her duty to- ward him, and avoid any action which would prove her unworthy of his respect. The concept of virtue (self-denial) is lauded by the mother, accepted (not without reservations) by the daughter, and approved by the author as the most desirable a t t r i - bute in a woman. In Mme de l a Fayette's descriptions of the people at the court, their actions, intrigues, and emotions, we can discover many details of l i f e in the seventeenth-century society. Through her allusive style, her penchant toward generalization, and her oblique presentation of value judgements, social norms are implicitly defined where institutions, practices, and con- duct are concerned. These norms provide an important background for the action of the novel since the characters' actions may be compared to these norms to show the degree of their conformity to the cultural code. 22 Acceptance, Refusal, and Manipulation The guidelines of the seventeenth-century cultural code are clearly defined in terms of appropriate social conduct, but i t s effects upon the people involved are not so easily discerned since one of the major characteristics of l i f e in this society is duplicity. Acceptance of the cultural code i s expected from a l l those who are members of the court. Through their observance and practice of the rules they gain social approval even though inwardly they may experience frustration at not being able to do what they want to do or at the misunderstandings that grow out of equivocal communication. Should a member of this society contravene the rules of appropriate conduct, the results can be disastrous, giving way to misinterpretation, rumour, and scandal. The value of personal freedom and contentment must be weighed against the possibility of social ostracism. The characters in La Prlncesse de Gleves are caught up ln this conflict. For some (the Queen, Mme de Valentinois), the answer l i e s in adapting their desires to f i t the constraints of social pressure; for others (the vidame de Chartres, Nemours, and, ln a rather d i f - ferent manner, Mme de Cleves), i t i s found in gently adapting the rules to f i t their desires, trying to assert their personal freedom discreetly while maintaining a veneer of social respec- t a b i l i t y . The constraints of the cultural code under which the charac- ters in the novel live pose few problems for those who are pas- sive enough to accept the limitations and to adapt to them. Neither are they bothersome for those who are able to judge when the rules may be bent and how far their scheming can go without breaking them. But for Mme de Gleves, who has been 2 3 r a i s e d i n a r e l a t i v e l y sheltered atmosphere by a mother who believed that passiveness and ignorance of the truth can triumph over s o c i a l corruption, the exigencies of the c u l t u r a l code cause confusion when practice does not conform to theory. Taught to suppress any hint of emotion and expression of i n t e r e s t toward a man, and ignorant of the role of love (passion) i n marriage, Mile de Chartres i s incapable of comprehending M. de Cleves's complaints regarding her lack of passion f o r him. She believes that he should be content that her actions conform to the accepted mode of conduct expected of a woman of her ranks M. de Cleves se trouvait heureux sans etre neanmoins entierement content. II voyait avec beaucoup de peine que l e s sentiments de Mile de Chartres ne passaient pas ceux de l'estlme et de l a reconnaissance et i l ne pouvait se f l a t t e r qu'elle en cachat de plus obllgeants, puisque l ' e t a t ou l i s etaient l u i permettait de l e s f a i r e paraltre sans choquer son extreme modestie. II ne se passait guere de jours q u ' i l ne l u i en f i t ses plaintes. . . . — I I y a de 1'injustice a vous plaindre, l u i repondit- e l l e ; je ne sais ce que vous pouvez souhaiter au-dela de ce que je f a i s , et i l me semble que l a bienseance ne per- met pas que -j'en fasse davantage. — I I est v r a l , l u i r e p l i q u a - t - i l , que vous me donnez de certains apparences dont je serais content s ' i l y avait quelque chose au-dela; mais, au l i e u que l a bien- seance vous retienne, c'est e l l e seule qui vous f a i t f a i r e ce que vous f a i t e s . Je ne touche n i votre i n c l i - nation, n i votre coeur, et ma presence ne vous donne n l de p l a l s i r , n i de trouble, (pp. 1^9-50) As a wife she shows respect, a sense of duty, and gratitude toward M. de Cleves, according him a l l the p r i v i l e g e s of a husband while investing none of the emotions of a lover. The appearance of Nemours creates new problems f o r the virtuous prlncesse since t h i s man awakens in her f e e l i n g s of passion forbidden by her mother. Mme de Cleves finds herself torn between her s o c i a l duties, which necessitate contact with Nemours, and her desire to avoid temptation, which can be accom- plished only by avoiding him: " C e t a i t une entreprise d i f f i c i l e , 24 dont e l l e c o n n a i s s a i t d e j a l e s peines; e l l e s a v a i t que l e s e u l moyen d'y r e u s s l r e t a i t d ' e v i t e r l a presence de ce p r i n c e " ( p . 1 9 * 0 • She r e c o g n i z e s the danger i n v o l v e d i n an i l l i c i t l i a i s o n , not i n terms of a t h r e a t to her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h M. de C l e v e s , but r a t h e r on the b a s i s of her p s y c h o l o g i c a l well-being—Nemours evokes i n Mme de Cleves s e n s a t i o n s and emotions t h a t are unknown to her, and an a f f a i r w i t h him n e c e s s i t a t e s scheming and d i s - honesty which, while being an i n t e g r a l p a r t of the p r a c t i c e of . g a l a n t e r i e , go a g a i n s t Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s t e a c h i n g s . F r u s t r a t i o n s and c o n f u s i o n a l s o grow out of a l a c k of communication which can be the r e s u l t of s o c i a l p r e s s u r e or of f e a r . Except f o r the c o n f e s s i o n , the c o n v e r s a t i o n s between M. de Cleves and h i s wife are l e s s than f r u i t f u l where an exchange of i n f o r m a t i o n or an e x p l a n a t i o n of behavior i s concerned. When Mme de Cleves f i r s t shows s i g n s of d i s c o m f o r t a t being l e f t alone w i t h Nemours, her husband asks f o r j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h i s a n t i - s o c i a l b e h a v i o r : I I l u i en p a r l a , et e l l e l u i r e p o n d i t q u ' e l l e ne c r o y a i t pas que l a bienseance v o u l u t q u ' e l l e f u t tous l e s s o i r s avec ce q u ' i l y a v a i t de p l u s jeune a l a oour; q u ' e l l e l e s u p p l i a i t de t r o u v e r bon q u ' e l l e f i t une v i e p l u s r e t i r e e q u ' e l l e n ' a v a i t accoutume; que l a v e r t u e t l a presence de sa mere a u t o r i s a i t beaucoup de choses qu'une femme de son^age ne pouvait s o u t e n i r . M. de C l e v e s , q u i a v a i t n a t u r e l l e m e n t beaucoup de douceur et de complaisance pour sa femme, n'en eut pas en c e t t e o c c a s i o n , e t i l l u i d i t q u ' i l ne v o u l a i t pas absolue- ment q u ' e l l e changeat de c o n d u i t e . (p. 195) And l a t e r when M. de Cleves wants an e x p l a n a t i o n as t o why h i s w i f e p r e f e r s to hide i n the country r a t h e r than r e t u r n to the c o u r t , he i s g r e e t e d w i t h hollow and evasive answers: — M a i s pourquoi ne voulez-vous p o i n t r e v e n i r a P a r i s ? Qui vous peut r e t e n i r a l a campagne? Vous avez depuis quelque temps un gout pour l a s o l i t u d e q u i m'etonne et q u i m ' a f f l i g e parce q u ' i l nous separe. Je vous trouve meme p l u s t r l s t e que de coutume e t je c r a l n s que vous 25 n'ayez quelque sujet d'affliction. — J e n'ai rien de facheux dans l'esprit, repondit- elle avec un air embarrasse? mais le tumulte de l a cour est s i grand et i l y a toujours un s i grand monde chez vous qu'il est impossible que le corps et l'esprit ne se lassent et que l'on ne cherche du repos. (p. 239) The husband's frustration at his inability to communicate effectively with his wife shows in his persistent questioning and results, eventually, in the shocking revelations of the confession. Nemours, too, is confused by the conflicting reactions he receives from Mme de Gleves. Her candid reactions to his pre- sence indicate amorous interest and pleasure while her social mask is indifference and fear. Ever mindful of the rules gover- ning social conduct, Nemours is constrained to express his inter- est and emotions toward Mme de Gleves in indirect speeches which ostensibly refer to third parties as indicated in the scene which takes place in Madame l a dauphine's chambers following the confession (pp. 255-57)• A l l of Nemours's remarks are ad- dressed to the dauphine, yet they are clearly meant for the understanding and appreciation of Mme de Gleves. Forbidden to use direct speech, he cannot justify or explain himself to her and must adopt an aspect of respectful silence i f he is to achieve his goal while maintaining a semblance of respectability: L'envie de parler a Mme de Gleves l u i venait toujours dans l'esprit. II songea a en trouver les moyens, i l pensa a l u i ecrire; mais enfin i l trouva qu'apres l a faute qu'il avait falte, et de l'humeur dont elle etait, le mieux qu'il put faire etait de l u i temoigner un profond respect par son a f f l i c t i o n et par son silence, de l u i faire voir meme qu'il n'osait se presenter devant elle et d'attendre ce que le temps, le hasard et 1•inclination qu'elle avait pour l u i , pourraient faire en sa faveur. (p. 264) Compliance with the rules of conduct secures social approval at the expense of honesty and personal fulfillment. The dupll- 26 city which Is required is most obvious In the case of the two women who have claims on the Kings the Queen and the duchesse de Valentinois. The Queen has what would appear to be the harder role to bear, having married the young due d*Orleans only to lose him to Mme de Valentinois. However disappointed she may have been where love is concerned, the former Catherine de Medicis enjoys the pleasure of f u l f i l l e d ambition, as well as the advantages of her powerful social status. She i s bound by the requirements of her role as the King's wife to tolerate the existence of his mistress and to present the outward appearances of contentment and conjugal harmony, which she accomplishes with such success that, i f i t were not for the account of the vidame de Chartres's relationship with her, no one would know to the contrary: L'humeur ambitieuse de l a reine l u i f a i s a i t trouver une grande douceur a regner; i l semblait qu'elle souffrft sans peine l'attachement du roi pour l a duchesse de Valen- tinois, et elle n'en temoignalt aucune jalousie, mais elle avait une s i profonde dissimulation qu'il etait d i f f i c i l e de juger de ses sentiments, et l a politesse l'obligeait d'approcher cette duchesse de sa personne, afin d'en approcher aussi le r o i . (p. 1 3 0 ) The duchesse de Valentinois enjoys the advantages of royal protection and can exercise a right to ostracise people who are not in her favour. She has social distinction by virtue of being the King's mistress and has a l l the financial and emotional benefits of a royal lover with none of the domestic or p o l i t i c a l complications. She i s , however, a victim of the social duplicity rampant at the time since her acceptance is not based on her personal worth but rather on her relationship with the King. Her position i s at best tenuous, as seen in her f a l l from favour during the King's illness (p. 269) and her banishment from the court after his death (p. 2 7 1 ) . 27 If acceptance of the rules for social conduct creates duplicity which results in frustrations and misunderstandings, i t s t i l l allows some measure of contentment for the Individual in that he can continue to function within the enclosure of his social milieu without fear of ostracism. A refusal to conform to the rules, however, or a deviation from the normally accepted behavior pattern has, on the social scene, effects that often extend beyond the scope of the individual's foresight, as seen in Mme de Gleves*s confession and later in her declaration of love for Nemours. Mme de Chartres took great pains to ensure that her daughter would appreciate the exigencies of the cultural code which governs their society, and to give her a good grounding in the possible p i t f a l l s involved in the practice of galanterie s "Mme de Chartres joignait a l a sagesse de sa f i l l e une conduite s i exacte pour toutes les bienseances qu'elle achevait de l a faire paraftre une personne ou l'on ne pouvait atteindre"(p. 152). Mme de Cleves*s conduct places her out of reach for most of the men who might be tempted to try for a liaison with her and so above suspicion that her husband jokes that the missing portrait might have been given to one of her lovers (p. 204). Even though Nemours is constantly found wherever Mme de Cleves may be, her conduct never gives rise to the suspicion that she might be "cette maftresse pour qui i l a quitte toutes les autres"(p. 209). Her tenacious grip on the code of blen- seance slips from time to time as she wrestles with the problem of protecting herself from Nemours's advances which are becoming more and more bold. Finally, pressed by her husband to explain her bizarre behaviour, Mme de Cleves steps over the boundaries 28 of the cultural code and confesses her inclination for Nemours: —Sh bien, Monsieur, l u i repondit-elle en se jetant a ses genouXj je vais vous faire un aveu que l'on n'a jamais f a i t a son marls mais 1'innocence de ma condulte et de mes intentions m'en donne l a force. II est vrai que j'ai des ralsons de m'eloigner de l a cour et que je veux eviter les perils ou se trouvent quelquefois les personnes de mon age. Je n'ai jamais donne nulle marque de faiblesse et je ne cralndrais pas d'en laisser paraftre s i vous me laissez l a liberte de me r e t i r e r de l a cour ou s i j'avais encore Mme de Chartres pour aider a me conduire. Quelque dangereux que soit le parti que je prends, je le prends avec joie pour me conserver digne d'etre a vous. Je vous demande mille pardons, s i j'ai des sentiments qui vous deplaisent, du moins je ne vous deplairal jamais par mes actions. Songez que pour faire ce que je fais , i l faut avoir plus d'amitie at plus d'estime pour un mari que l'on en a jamais eu; conduisez moi, ayez pitie de moi, et aimez-moi encore, s l vous pouvez. (pp. 240-41) Mme de Cleves's reasons for the confession are clear to her, but she has given l i t t l e thought to the repercussions of i t where M. de Cleves i s concerned. She i s sure of her inno- cence in terms of her behaviour., asserting that, although her emotions may be guilty, she has never acted unfaithfully toward her husband. She i s attempting to unload her guilt and confusion while asking for the understanding and respect that she feels her unprecedented honesty should merit. Unfortunately, however, the fact of the confession and the nature of i t s content are so foreign to M. de Cleves's appreciation of appropriate social conduct that he cannot accept i t on the terms in which i t is presented. Although M. de Cleves has, in a sense, invited the confession by predicting to his wife his reaction in a situation similar to that of Sancerre (p. 181),ahis.tactual reaction-- jealousy, curiosity, hatred of the l o v e r — i s the same as was Mme de Cleves's i n i t i a l reaction to the letter which told her of Nemours's " i n f i d e l i t y " . Since the shocked husband i s not ac- customed to honesty and open declarations he retains only the 29 damning information of the confession and none of the emotional investment made by i t s author. The cultural code provides for conditioned responses to expected stimuli. When the stimulus comes from an action in which the code is contravened, however, the response cannot be foreseen; and although one may hope for a response as honest as the stimulus, the combination of cultural shaping and human nature may override logic and understanding. Mme de Cleves subsequently regrets this departure from the norm when she realizes that the confession has not improved her position with her husband and that the whole episode has become public knowledge. She recovers her sense of bienseance, but only until she i s again pressed for an explanation of her aberrant behaviour—this time by Nemours after M. de Cleves 1s death. Mme de Cleves*s declaration of love for Nemours (pp. 302-09) clearly contravenes the cultural code, but i t springs from an innate sense of and respect for honesty. The prlncesse offers a statement of facts, hoping that Nemours w i l l understand and res- pect the reasons for her choice of conduct. Mme de Cleves i s sure of her innocence in terms of her past conduct and equally certain of her resolutions for the future: HJe vous fais cet aveu avec moins de honte, parce que je le fais dans un temps ou je le puis faire sans crime et que vous avez vu que ma conduite n'a pas ete reglee par mes sentiments. . . . cet aveu n'aura point de suite et je suivrai les regies austeres que mon devoir m'impose"(p. 303). She anticipates that Nemours w i l l accept her decision due to the honesty and objectivity with which her rationale is presented. But she underestimates the cultural conditioning of the man with whom she is dealing. Nemours does not appreciate the 30 p s y c h o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s i m p l i e d i n Mme de C l e v e s ' s s t r i c t r e s o l u - t i o n s , p r e f e r r i n g to combat an i l l o g i c a l r e j e c t i o n of p l e a s u r e with statements of g a l a n t e r l e and arguments based on w o r l d l y p r a c t i c e s . When she speaks of duty as an o b s t a c l e to t h e i r l i a i s o n . Nemours takes t h i s concept i n the sense of her s o c i a l duty to mourn M. de Cleves f o r a s p e c i f i e d time: — V o u s n'y songez pas, Madame, r e p o n d i t M. de Nemours; i l n'y a p l u s de d e v o i r q u i vous l i e , vous et e s en l i b e r t e ; et s i j ' o s a i s , je vous d i r a l meme q u ' i l depend de vous de f a i r e en s o r t e que v o t r e d e v o i r o b l i g e un jour a con- s e r v e r l e s sentiments que vous avez pour moi. —Mon d e v o i r , r e p l i q u a - t - e l l e , me defend de penser jamais a personne, e t moins a vous qu'a q u i que ce s o i t au monde, par des r a i s o n s qui vous sont inconnues. - - E l l e s ne me l e sont p e u t - e t r e pas, Madame, r e p r i t - i l ; mais ce ne sont p o i n t de v e r i t a b l e s r a i s o n s . (pp. 303-04) Mme de Cleves cannot convince Nemours t h a t her apprehensions are based on a n y t h i n g but f e a r of s o c i a l d i s f a v o u r , f o r he i s not accustomed to the i d e a t h a t women are capable of governing t h e i r emotional responses and s o c i a l t r a i n i n g with reason and s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e . The r e s u l t of Mme de C l e v e s ' s second a t y p i c a l attempt to reason with a man i s as u n s a t i s f a c t o r y as the f i r s t , s i n c e the d e c l a r a t i o n serves o n l y t o encourage Nemours i n h i s p u r s u i t s now t h a t he has gained c o n f i r m a t i o n t h a t mutual s e n t i - ments e x i s t . As a r e s u l t of the unconventional d e c l a r a t i o n , Mme de C l e v e s i s f o r c e d to adopt an e q u a l l y u n c o n v e n t i o n a l , t o t a l l y i n s u l a r , a t t i t u d e toward the r e s t of her l i f e . As we have seen, the g u i d e l i n e s of the c u l t u r a l code are c l e a r l y d e f i n e d and set out f o r the people of the seventeenth- century s o c i e t y . Compliance with and d e v i a t i o n from them each has p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a t t r i b u t e s , but the choice i s not s o l e l y one or the o t h e r . In some cases s l i g h t d e v i a t i o n from the r u l e s may be t o l e r a t e d , and many of the c h a r a c t e r s are a b l e 31 to use the guidelines, s l i g h t l y modified, to j u s t i f y t h e i r non- conformist actions. They must, however, he mindful of the dan- ger of o v e r - j u s t i f i c a t i o n which can lead to suspicions just the same. Mme de Gleves 1s psychological c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g from the d i s p a r i t y between what she has been taught and what she i s experiencing makes i t necessary f o r her to manipulate the c u l - t u r a l code just as Nemours*s frustrated attempts at galanterie with respect to her require him to do the same. There i s , how- ever, a difference i n intent f o r the two that can be viewed i n terms of the opposition of naivete and c a l c u l a t i o n . A good example of c a l c u l a t i o n i s the malaise diplomatique. I l l health i s a r e a d i l y accepted and widely employed excuse to avoid an unpleasant s i t u a t i o n . For Mme de Cleves i t provides a credible excuse to avoid going to M. de Saint-Andre's b a l l , to remove herself to the country to avoid M. de Nemours, and to get herself out of the uncomfortable s i t u a t i o n which Nemours creates i n Mme l a dauphine's chambers* "Comme i l y avait beaucoup de monde, e l l e s'embarrassa dans sa robe et f i t un faux pasj e l l e se s e r v i t de ce pretexte pour s o r t i r d'un l i e u ou e l l e n*avalt pas l a force de demeurer et, felgnant de ne se pouvoir soutenir, e l l e s*en a l i a chez elle"(p p . 257-58). For Nemours, his own i l l n e s s allows him to cover up h i s lack of desire to attend the d a i l y salons which Mme de Cleves has forsaken: "Une legere maladie l u i s e r v i t longtemps de pretexte pour demeurer chez l u i et pour ev i t e r d ' a l l e r dans tous l e s l i e u x ou i l savait bien que Mme de Cleves ne s e r a i t pas"(p. 194); and, combined with the temporary Infirmity of M. de Cleves, i t also allows Nemours the opportunity to spend entire days i n the presence of Mme de Cleves (pp. 19^-95)• 32 Social bienseance i s also used and abused by the characters i n the pursuit of t h e i r goals. Mme de Cleves p r o f i t s from the necessity to mourn her mother's death to take refuge from Nemours at Coulommiers. Her second f l i g h t to the country r e s i - dence i s le s s well j u s t i f i e d and when pressed f o r an acceptable explanation f o r her sudden penchant f o r rest and solitude, Mme de Cleves c i t e s s o c i a l decorum: "Songez seulement que l a prudence ne veut pas qu'une femme de mon age, et maftresse de sa conduite, demeure exposee au m i l i e u de l a cour"(p. 240). And when, a f t e r M. de Cleves's death, Nemours presses her to accept and return h i s advances she again states the opposition of s o c i a l p r a c t i c e — she i s i n mourning—to cover her r e a l reasons: "Je suis dans un etat qui me f a i t des crimes de tout ce qui pourrait etre permis dans un autre temps, et l a seule bienseance i n t e r d l t tout commerce entre nous"(p, 308). Nemours, too, manipulates the code of bienseance but not by naively using using i t as a j u s t i f i c a - t i o n or rationale for his actions: the duke p r o f i t s from other people's sense of appropriate s o c i a l conduct i n his calculated attempts to gain access.to Mme de Cleves. When refused entrance to her chambers to consult Mme de Cleves about the vidame's l e t t e r — a n d , not e n t i r e l y by the way, to assure himself that she understands that i t does not belong to him—Nemours appeals to M. de Cleves's sense of duty to the vidame, thereby succeeding i n his double goal: "II a l i a a 1 *appartement de M. de Cleves, et l u i d i t q u ' i l venait de c e l u i de madame sa femme, q u ' i l e t a i t bien fache:de ne :1a- pouvoir-entretenir, parce q u ' i l avait a l u i par l e r d'une a f f a i r e importante pour l e vidame de Chartres. II f i t entendre en peu de mots a M, de Cleves l a consequence de cette a f f a i r e , et M. de Cleves l e mena a 1'heure meme dans l a 33 chambre de sa femme"(p. 228). Nemours does respect the code of blenseance i n that he i s hesitant to demonstrate too openly h i s i n c l i n a t i o n for Mme de Gleves, fearing that i t might compro- mise his p o s i t i o n with respect to her. But he cannot endure the silence and disappearance of Mme de Cleves a f t e r her husband's death, so he again preys on a c a r e f u l l y chosen t h i r d p a r t y — t h e vidame—to set up the f i n a l meeting between them. The motivation behind t h e i r manipulation of the c u l t u r a l code i s b a s i c a l l y the same f o r both Mme de Cleves and Nemours— each seeks an acceptable way i n which to eliminate a disagreeable s i t u a t i o n without causing public scandal—but, again, there i s a difference i n intent. Mme de Cleves, a l l the way through her adventures, i s trying to reach an acceptable state of compromise between her desires and her duties without unduly harming any of the people involved. Since she has been taught by her mother to avoid any hint of galanterie and since she knows that the best way to r e s i s t temptation i s not to encounter i t , her i n - s t i n c t i v e reaction i s to shun a l l s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n — a n i d i o - syncratic decision which does not conform to the code of conduct f o r people of her s o c i a l rank. Manipulating the code, then, to cover up f o r her extraordinary behavior i s just as i n s t i n c t i v e and r e f l e c t s Mme de Cleves's naivete i n thinking that she can keep secret her involvement i n the national pastime. F a i l i n g to explain her resolutions to Nemours i n terms of reason and l o g i c , she has no other recourse but to invoke blenseance (thereby exemplifying her lack of immunity to the d u p l i c i t y that plays so great a part In seventeenth-century society) hoping that Nemours w i l l recover with time. If Mme de Cleves's manipulation of the c u l t u r a l code i s 3^ based on the naive thought that she can avoid temptation by showing d i s p l e a s u r e and d i s t a s t e f o r the temptor, Nemours*s a c t i o n s show a m o t i v a t i o n to the c o n t r a r y . Every one of h i s contraventions of the code i s c a l c u l a t e d . H i s schemes are a l l o r i e n t e d toward the conquest of Mme de Gleves, showing l i t t l e or no c o n s i d e r a t i o n f o r the e f f e c t of h i s a c t i o n s on anyone who might be i n the way. Mme de Cleves*s r i g h t to personal content- ment and s o l i t u d e i s transgressed throughout the adventure, and even a t the end of the novel a f t e r being unequivocally dismissed by her, Nemours i s s t i l l working out ways to Intrude upon Mme de Cleves*s self-imposed e x i l e by Invoking the a i d of a l l the people at the court who might be able to i n f l u e n c e her judgement. Whatever the b a s i s f o r manipulating the code may be, we can see t h a t i n each case i t functioned w i t h q u a l i f i e d success as a stop-gap measure, but In n e i t h e r case d i d i t b r i n g about the d e s i r e d r e s u l t s . 3 5 Restrictions, Conflicts, and Resolutions Through our examination of La Princesse de Cleves we have gained some knowledge about the society in which i t takes place. Mme de l a Payette presents a social portrait of the court complete with physical descriptions and an outline of i t s value structure. We know what physical attributes and actions characterize people of quality; we are aware of the existence of a s t r i c t code of conduct which governs every foreseeable event in seventeenth- century l i f e ; we have seen the effects of compliance with and deviation from the code, effects which Influence the psycholo- gical make-up of the members of this society. But the code i t s e l f , and not just the attitude of the people governed by i t , creates an a r t i f i c i a l setting for social interaction by restricting membership and conduct in this society. These restrictions de- fine an atmosphere where psychological conflicts abound, con- f l i c t s which can only be resolved by acting within the limits of the code. A l l of the problems encountered by the characters are related to this essential opposition of a r t i f i c i a l i t y (the code) and reality (emotion, conf l i c t ) . The seventeenth-century cultural code defines and, through i t s definitions, creates a closed society—the court--where mem- bership, actions, and values are prescribed. The practice of galanterle i s an integral part of courtly l i f e that i s both en- couraged and protected by the restrictions of the cultural code. The limited nature of the court as a social milieu determines the number of participants that may be present and available for amorous intrigues. Roles are clearly defined for men and wo- men, married and unmarried, and appropriate conduct i s equally clearly prescribed. The r i t u a l of galanterle is also protected 36 by that aspect of the cultural code which requires that a l l members of the court come in contact with each other at both private and public functions. The cultural code also prescribes the respective reactions of men and women when engaged in galan- t e r i e — a man i s praised for his persistence and success while a woman is admired for her tolerance of flattery and her adroit rejection of advances. The complicity of the courtly society in the practice of galanterie i s seen at the bal l where Mme de Gleves and Nemours meet for the f i r s t time (pp. 153-5*0 • Every- one i s aware of Nemours's reputation with women and of his physical attractiveness. They are not any less aware of Mme de Cleves's beauty nor of her newly acquired status as a married woman. Yet in spite of this information, which should require that Nemours and Mme de Cleves be kept apart, the King places them together on the dance floor, encouraging the affaire to begin. The appropriate responses of men and women to the beginning of a galanterie are demonstrated by the conversation between Nemours, Mme de Cleves, and Mme l a dauphlne in which Nemours and Mme de Cleves are formally introduced! —Pour moi, Madame, dit M. de Nemours, je n'ai pas d'incertitude $ mais comme Mme de Cleves n'a pas les memes raisons pour deviner qui je suis que celles que j'ai pour l a reconnaftre, je voudrals bien que Votre Majeste eut l a bonte de l u i apprendre mon nom. — J e crois, dit Mme l a dauphlne, qu'elle le salt aussi bien que vous savez le sien. — J e vous assure, Madame, reprit Mme de Cleves, qui paraissait un peu embarrassee, que je ne devine pas s i bien que vous pensez. —Vous devinez fort bien, repondit Mme l a dauphlne; et 11 y a meme quelque chose d'obligeant pour M. de Nemours a ne vouloir pas avouer que vous le connaissez sans l'avoir Jamais vu. (p. 154) Nemours is charming and galant, enjoying the pleasure of the acquaintance. Mme de Cleves i s demure, a l i t t l e embarrassed, 37 and tries to feign a lack of interest in and prior knowledge of the duke. The dauphine thoroughly enjoys the r i t u a l , recogni- zing neither her part in preparing Mme de Gleves for her down- fall—"Mme l a dauphine leilui<,avait.depeint d'une sorte et l u i en avait parle tant de fois qu'elle l u i avait donne de l a curi- osite, et meme de 1'impatience de le voir"(p. 153)—nor the ex- tent to which the resulting intrigues would harm Mme de Gleves. The cultural code also encourages the practice of galanterle by controlling the opportunities for and manner of communication between persons of opposite sexes. It is unusual for a man and a woman who are not related to be l e f t alone, and such interviews very readily give rise to scandal. Public contact between unre- lated men and women is expected and required, but does not allow for open conversation or statements of intent since social con- versation is governed by social bienseance. Honest and sincere . discussions between people are not expected and are certainly not encouraged, thus the r i t u a l of indirect conversation (demon- strations of a talent for wit and rhetoric) becomes a cornerstone of galanterle. The taboo against direct expression also makes i t d i f f i c u l t for an individual to put an end to unwelcome advances by appealing to another person's sense of reason, with the result that an attempt at an affai r can only be ended by silence. Since galanterle i s so well protected and encouraged by the cultural code i t achieves a position of unequivocal impor- tance to the members of seventeenth-century society. It cannot operate and survive without their co-operation, and because the people at the court subscribe to and obey the code, there is l i t t l e chance that the practice of galanterie w i l l die out. Neither i s there much chance for the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of this 38 society's view of love to be discovered, since the code also encourages dishonesty and i l l u s i o n in social interaction. A talent for duplicity i s necessitated by the prescriptions for social behavior which do not allow the individual to aspire to any s e l f - f u l f i l l i n g action that may contravene the code. If, for example, a woman marries for a l l the "proper" reasons (social standing, financial assurance, good family ties) she is bound to find her identity and fulfillment In this role. Should she, like Mme de Gleves, discover, through meeting another man, that her role lacks some measure of excitement which i s readily a v a i l - able (although not s t r i c t l y allowable within the bounds of the cultural code) she must have recourse to secrecy and dishonesty in order to gain contentment. Mme de Cleves, however, cannot bring herself to practice this sort of duplicity (admittedly, she does manage to use white l i e s to get herself out of some situations) and so she suffers a dual discontent—first, that she cannot have what she wants, and secondly, that she cannot bring herself to do what she can, within the allowances of ac- ceptable social practices, to get i t . The obstacles to a know- ledge about and an appreciation of love that are created by the arbitrary and a r t i f i c i a l nature of the cultural code, while not being totally insurmountable, certainly enhance the value of the results of galanterie. At the same time, however, these obstacles (despite the fact that they are grounded on a r t i f i c i a l criteria) have a very real effect on the psychological well-being of the people involved. The psychological conflicts experienced by some of the char- acters in La Prlncesse de Cleves f a l l into three basic categories, a l l of which are, in some measure, related to the cultural code. 39 Fi r s t , there are those problems which are a direct result of social pressure that i s found to be in opposition with personal desires (ought to vs. want to). Secondly, there are those con- f l i c t s which arise from a desire for self-knowledge which is opposed by the social code of superficiality (essence vs. role). Thirdly, there are the problems created when actual practices do not exemplify an Individual's real thoughts and emotions (theory vs. practice). Mme de Gleves i s the one character who experiences a l l of these conflicts, while her husband and Nemours are directly involved in only the f i r s t — t h e y are, however, im- plicated in the others through their association with Mme de Gleves. The heroine constantly finds herself in a state of confusion when confronted by Nemours and his indirect (sometimes direct) attestations of admiration and respect, as seen in one exchange that takes place between the two characters shortly after Mme de Chartres*s deaths Mme de Cleves entendait aisement l a part qu'elle avait a ces paroles. II l u i semblait qu'elle devait y repondre et ne les pas souffrir. II l u i semblait aussi qu'elle ne devait pas les entendre, ni temoigner qu'elle les prit pour e l l e . E l l e croyait devoir parler et croyait ne devoir rien dire. Le discours de M. de Nemours l u i plaisait et l'offensalt quasi egalement; elle y voyait l a confirmation de tout ce que l u i avait f a i t penser Mme l a Dauphine; elle y trouvalt quelque chose de galant et de respectueux, mais aussi quelque chose de hardi et de trop i n t e l l i g i b l e . L*inclination qu'elle avait pour ce prince l u i donnait un trouble dont elle n'etait pas maltresse. (p. 193) The emotional side of Mme de Cleves's make-up encourages her to accept the duke's advances while her rational and socially conscious self demands that she take offense and reject him, thus remaining fai t h f u l to her husband. Part of her conflict also comes from the fact that although her status as a wife 40 requires that she show some degree of love for M. de Gleves, she has no desire to act out this socially defined duty toward her husband. Her desire for solitude as a means of avoiding Nemours is another source of trouble for Mme de Cleves since she is cognizant of her social responsibility to appear at the court with her husband. The cultural code does not tolerate idiosyn- cracies. It is set up to preserve the whole picture, sometimes at the expense of the constituent parts. M. de Cleves and the due de Nemours are also trapped in the conflict between their social requirements and their desires, although the effects of these conflicts are not as serious for them as they are for Mme de Cleves. M. de Cleves 1s desires appear to be totally In agreement with the requirements of the cultural c o d e — a l l he wants is that his wife return his emotional investment in their relationship. What he ignores is that their marriage i s based on convenience and appropriateness, as social custom encourages, and not on love, as his romantic inclinations desire. The cultural code provides that he should be content with his virtuous, f a i t h f u l , and socially aware wife, but i t does not furnish any rules for so l i c i t i n g passion from a wife who i s not disposed to give i t freely. He therefore finds that his desires, while not being outrageous in terms of socially accepted behavior, cannot be satisfied under the circumstances of his marriage and the prescriptions of behavior that apply to i t . Nemours's wish to engage Mme de Cleves in an aff a i r of galanterie i s basically acceptable under the code, since i t i s expected of a l l handsome young men that they should excel in matters of this kind. His conflict arises when he comes up against Mme de Cleves's staunch refusal to compromise her virtuous reputation 41 f o r the sake of temporary pleasure. Since Nemours, being a gentleman of quality, understands the requirements of the c u l - t u r a l code where i t concerns women, he becomes a victim of the double standard which allows men to have a f f a i r s with women while advocating that women avoid intrigues with men. He can and must respect Mme de Cleves's resolutions to observe the rules of the c u l t u r a l code, even though i t i s his role and desire to make her change her mind. Mme de Cleves's penchant for s e l f knowledge and, to a cer- t a i n extent, self-determination finds opposition i n the c u l t u r - a l code which defines an individual's worth for him i n terms of his physical t r a i t s and s o c i a l r o l e . Mme de Chartres, i n her teachings, prepares her daughter for self-determination and consequent non-conformity to the c u l t u r a l norm while at the same time emphasizing the importance of maintaining a s o c i a l roles . . . e l l e l u i f a i s a i t v o i r , d'un autre cote, quelle t r a n q u i l i t y s u i v a i t l a vie d'une honnete femme, et combien l a vertu donnait d'eclat et d'elevation a une personne qui avait de l a beaute et de l a naissance; mais e l l e l u i f a i s a i t v o i r aussi combien i l e t a i t d i f f i c i l e de conserver cette vertu, que par une extreme defiance de soi-meme et par un grand soin de s'attacher a ce qui seul peut f a i r e l e bonheur d'une femme, qui est d'aimer son marl et d'en etre aimee. (p. 137) The "defiance de soi-meme" which i s advocated cannot be found through b l i n d acceptance and adherence to a r o l e . In order for an in d i v i d u a l to safeguard himself against any threat, he must f i r s t gain a knowledge of what constitutes a threat and what h i s powers are to combat i t . A l l the way through the novel Mme de Cleves i s searching f o r t h i s knowledge, but she never has a chance to test out her hypotheses. The c u l t u r a l code under which she l i v e s (which i s embodied by M. de Cleves and Mme de Chartres) has determined what she should view as a threat 42 to her virtue and social well-being. It also prescribes what steps, i f any, may be taken to combat i t . The limitations of her social role—woman, aristocrat, married—Impose upon Mme de Gleves a superficiality which i s not compatible with the depth of her self-perception. The con- f l i c t which results is clearly shown in her rejection of Nemours at the end of the novel. Mme de Cleves tries to explain to Nemours that the reasons for her decision against him are not based on the superficial c r i t e r i a of social custom, but rather on her perception of herself and the nature of his love as i t pertains to hers Par vanlte ou par gout, toutes les femmes souhaitent de vous attacher. II y en a peu a qui vous ne plaislez; mon experience me ferait croire qu'il n'y en a point a qui vous ne puissiez plaire. Je vous croirals toujours amoureux et alme et je ne me tromperais pas souvent. Dans cet etat neanmoins, je n'aurais djautre parti a prendre que celui de l a souffranees je ne sals meme si j'oserais me plaindre. On f a i t des reproches a un amant? mais en fait-on a un mari, quand on n'a qu'a l u i reprocher de n'avoir plus d*amour? (p. 307) She realizes that the cultural code which determines appropriate conduct only provides ideal and a r t i f i c i a l ground rules governing the relationship between married people. Although their marriage would bear the mark of social approval, Mme de Cleves realizes that adopting the role of husband would not eliminate Nemours's natural penchant for galanterle and that becoming his wife would not end her jealous sufferings. Mme de Cleves cannot go along with society's superficial attitude toward marriage because she knows herself too well—her personal desires would always be in conflict with social practice. Another source of conflict for Mme de Cleves i s the fact that even though the guidelines for appropriate social conduct are clearly defined and obediance of them expected, she often 43 sees around her examples of conduct which conform neither to the cultural code nor to the real thoughts, emotions, and intentions of the individual. The most obvious example of this contrast between theory and practice i s found in the story of Sancerre and Mme de Tournon (pp. 174-86). Mme de Tournon presents an exterior attitude which condemns marriage and advocates r e t i r e - ment from the court as the only possible way of gaining peace of minds "—Je ne saurais crolre, interrompit Mme de Gleves, que Mme de Tournon, apres cet eloignement s i extraordinaire qu'elle a temoigne pour le mariage depuis qu'elle est veuve, et apres les declarations publiques qu'elle a faites de ne se re- marler jamais, ait donne des esperances a Sancerrert(p. 175)• So convincing is Mme de Tournon that Mme de Gleves finds i t a l - most impossible to believe that such a lady could dally with even one man, let alone play off one lover against anothers "—L'on ne peut etre plus surprise que je le suis, dit alors Mme de Gleves, et je croyals Mme de Tournon incapable d'amour et de tromperie"(p. 186). Indeed, the truth would never have been known had she not died, thus having lost control over the imposed restrictions on her two lovers. Two sources of conflict for Mme de Gleves grow out of this tale. First, she is presented with M. de Gleves*s hypothetical statement of how he would act i f he found out that his wife had a lovers ". . . je crois que s i ma maitresse, et meme ma femme, m'avouait que quelqu*un l u i plut, j'en serais affllge sans etre a i g r i . Je quitterals le personnage d'amant ou de marl, pour l a conseiller et pour l a plalndre,''(p. 181). Such a statement does not conform with what she knows to be true about jealousy in her social environment, yet she would like to believe and act upon i t to relieve herself 44 of the problem of Nemours. Although the theory is preferable to practice, Mme de Gleves realizes i t s unreliable nature through seeing the effects of i l l u s i o n on Sancerre. The second source of conflict for Mme de Gleves is the fact that Mme de fournon succeeded so well in her duplicity and was not found out until after her death when public opinion could no longer harm her. The possibility for Mme de Gleves to keep her lover and her husband is presented, but she must reject i t since she knows that she lacks a basic talent for dishonesty in affairs of this kind. The resolutions that are made to deal with the conflicts which arise from the restrictive nature of the cultural code are, for the most part, unsatisfactory and condemned to failure since they respond only to the exigencies of the code and not to the needs of the Individual. Every time Mme de Gleves resolves to have nothing more to do with Nemours (except, of course, the f i n a l resolution) she is reacting to social pressure--fear of public scandal, duty to her husband—and not to her own desires. Since her decisions are based on a r t i f i c i a l c r i t e r i a , i t Is not surprising that they should be hard for her to observe for any great length of time. Her f i n a l resolution is the only one that has any possibility of success because It is based on self- awareness and an honest desire to remain true to herself at any expense. M i de Cleves's resolution, after the confession, not to press his wife to reveal the identity of her lover nor to 12 dwell upon the a f f a i r does not last long in the face of his overwhelming curiosity and his desires to the contrary. Nemours, of course, is incapable of keeping any resolution that Interferes with his personal goals, but he at least admits to himself that his resolutions are based on a r t i f i c i a l reasons and that they 45 are o n l y stop-gap measures while he waits f o r Mme de Gleves to come around to h i s way of p e r c e i v i n g t h i n g s : ". . .11 t r o u v a . . . [que} l e mieux q u ' i l put f a i r e e t a i t de l u i temoigner un profond r e s p e c t par . . . son s i l e n c e . . . et d'attendre ce que l e temps, l e hasard et 1 ' i n c l i n a t i o n q u ' e l l e a v a i t pour l u i , p o u r r a i e n t f a i r e en sa f a v e u r " ( p . 264). The c o n f l i c t between Mme de Gleves's d e s i r e f o r s e l f - d e t e r - m i n a t i o n and the c u l t u r a l code's p r e s c r i p t i o n s of b e h a v i o r f i t t i n g a person of her rank cannot be r e s o l v e d w i t h i n the g u i d e l i n e s of the code. Since the s o c i e t y has a r u l e of conduct to govern every f o r e s e e a b l e s o c i a l a c t i o n , s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n i s e f f e c t i v e l y e l i m i n a t e d as i s the concept of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r one's own l i f e . By t r y i n g to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her own e x i s t e n c e ; a n d by t r y i n g t o determine her own p e r s o n a l r u l e s of conduct, Mme de Gleves l e a v e s the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code, r e j e c t i n g i t both as a c r i t e r i o n on which to base her d e c i s i o n and as a p o s s i b l e answer to her dilemma. The a r t i f i c i a l nature of the code i s incompatible with her d e v e l o p i n g sense of honesty, and the e x i g e n c i e s of t h i s code are not r e l e v a n t to her s i n c e she i s about to e x i l e h e r s e l f from the m i l i e u where they are necessary. ^6 Stereotypes, Laws, and Suggestions We have already seen how the c u l t u r a l code Implicit i n the novel has defined and stereotyped people of s p e c i f i c r o l e s by specifying t h e i r physical t r a i t s and t h e i r mode of conduct. Sometimes, however, the narrator and the characters make bald statements about people and t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s i n order to j u s t i f y a c e r t a i n action which may not be governed by the rules of the c u l t u r a l code. In some cases, these maxims are stated i n the manner c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Maxlmes of l a Rochefoucauld, while l n others they may be inferred from the context of a statement. Such e x p l i c i t references to human nature and s o c i a l values provide expressions of role and c u l t u r a l stereotypes, statements of gen- e r a l l y accepted truths about conduct and human nature, and sug- gestions of other generally accepted truths which may be inferred from actions which do not exemplify the c u l t u r a l norm. There are three main areas of stereotyping evident i n the novel: f i r s t , there i s c u l t u r a l stereotyping which Includes praising the French way of l i f e , comparing i t to the English, and c r i t i c i z i n g the I t a l i a n ; secondly, there i s female role stereotyping where al l u s i o n s are made to feminine incomprehen- s i b i l i t y , vanity, emotions, and dishonesty; t h i r d l y , there i s male stereotyping which exposes the difference between a man as a husband and a man as a lover, and which emphasizes the role of glory i n a man's s o c i a l being. Where c u l t u r a l stereotyping i s concerned, Mme de l a Fayette's prejudice i n favour of the French i s obvious. Both Mary Stuart and Anne de Boulen, although cl o s e l y linked to England, have been raised at the French court and are admired for t h e i r ease with the French culture. The author, i n the context of discussing 47 Anne de Boulen, states that " l e s manieres de France . . . plaisent a toutes les nations"(p. 199)• This i s the only r e a l maxim that r e f e r s to the French culture; the lack of other state- ments of s i m i l a r baldness Indicates that the superiority of the French was an understood fac t . This maxim, appearing i n Mme l a dauphlne*s account of the English court at the time of Henry VIII, i s used primarily to show Anne de Boulen*s quality and to project t h i s image onto her daughter, Elizabeth: ". . . e l l e n'avait aucune ressemblance avec les autre beautes anglaises" (p. 199)- I t also serves as grounds for a comparison between the French and English s o c i e t i e s , the English coming out on the bottom because of Henry VIII who, a f t e r receiving the fulmina- tions of the Pope on the subject of his marriage practices, "se declara chef de l a r e l i g i o n et entrafna toute l'Angleterre dans le malheureux changement . . ."(p. 201). The I t a l i a n s , too, receive bad notices- from the members of the French court. The (r-^'( Lt/ Vidame de Chartres, while recounting to Nemours his adventures with the Queen, states that " l a jalousie est naturelle aux per- sonnages de sa nation"(p. 223). Nemours Is amazed that the vidame would even attempt to court another lady behind the Queen's back since i t i s well known that " e l l e est italienne et relne, et parnconsequent pleine de soupcons, de jalousie, et d*orgueil" (p. 225). I t i s the emotional aspect of the race that i s the determining c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of I t a l i a n s according to these two gentlemen. Neither of them considers the general a p p l i c a b i l i t y of these q u a l i t i e s to people l n c e r t a i n circumstances, and per- haps t h i s i s the reason behind t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y incon- stant relationships with women. We have discussed the stereotyped role that the c u l t u r a l 48 code provides for women and how Mme de Chartres t r i e d to i n s t i l l In her daughter respect for and observance of the r o l e . I t i s noteworthy, however, that men (M. de Cleves, Nemours) despite the r i g i d rules imposed by the code, f e e l i t necessary to make e x p l i c i t generalizations about the nature and actions of women, 13 while women voice no maxims about themselves. v When M. de Cleves, with reference to Mme de Tournon, voices the generally accepted truth, " l e s femmes sont incomprehenslbles"(p. 174) while i n the same sentence expressing his pleasure at having a wife who i s so d i f f e r e n t , he i s unaware of the f u l l measure of t h i s contradiction. Not only does he stereotype a l l women, but M. de Cleves also unwittingly puts h i s wife i n a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n where, because of her " d i f f e r e n t " status, Mme de Cleves can conduct her- s e l f d i f f e r e n t l y from them—thereby giving r i s e to the p o s s i b i l i t y of the confession. Nemours respects and understands the c u l t u r a l code i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n to women and to the practice of galanterle but a l l the same he i s the alleged author of a whole series of maxims about women and t h e i r s o c i a l conduct: —M. de Nemours trouve . . . que l e bai est ce q u ' i l y a de plus insupportable pour l e s amants, s o l t q u ' i l s soient aimes ou q u ' i l s ne l e soient pas. II d i t que, s ' i l s sont aimes l i s ont le chagrin de l ' e t r e moins pendant plusieurs jours; q u ' i l n'y a point de femme que l e soin de sa parure n'empeche de songer a son amant; qu'elles en sont entirerement occupees; que ce soin de sa parure e s t pour tout l e monde aussi bien que pour c e l u i qu'elles aiment; que l o r s q u ' e l l e s sont au b a i , e l l e s veulent p l a i r e a tous ceux qui les regardent; que, quand e l l e s sont contentes de leur beaute, e l l e s en ont une joie dont leur amant ne f a i t pas l a plus grande part i e . II d i t encore que, quand on n'est point aime, on souffre encore davantage de v o i r sa maitresse dans une assemblee; que, plus e l l e est admiree du public, plus on se trouve malheureux de n'en etre point aime; que l'on cr a i n t toujours que sa beaute ne fasse nattre quelque amour plus heureux que le sien. Enfin 11 trouve q u ' i l n'y a point de souffrance p a r e i l l e a c e l l e de v o i r sa ma£tresse au b a i , s i ce n'est de savoir qu'elle y est et de n'y etre pas. (pp. 164-65) 49 These maxims are ascribed to Nemours by M. de Conde who repeats them to Mme de Gleves and Mme l a dauphine. It i s not cl e a r whether there Is any strategy involved on the part of Nemours to have these opinions made known to Mme de Gleves or whether they are simply theories advanced by the most successful homme galant i n the group at the dauphin's bedside. Whatever the r a - t i o n a l e , the maxims appear c l e a r l y as statements of generally accepted truths about women and about men's dealings with them as based on his own experiences. If there i s no strategy involved i n the maxims about mistresses and b a l l s , there d e f i n i t e l y i s when Nemours voices another maxim regarding women: "Les femmes jugent d'ordinaire de l a passion qu'on a pour e l l e s . . . par l e soin qu'on prend de leur p l a l r e et de l e s chercher"(p. 192). This statement appears In the f i r s t private conversation between Mme de Cleves and Nemours while the duke i s i n d i r e c t l y explaining hi s actions and emotions toward her. This maxim forms the basis f o r Nemours's usual method of pursuing a f f a i r s of g a l a n t e r i e ? - i f the woman wants to be toyed with, he i s happy to oblige. But the duke uses t h i s statement to e s t a b l i s h a contrast between Mme de Cleves and the rest of the women he has known and to show that he intends to pursue her on her own very d i f f e r e n t terms. Nemours's i n a b i l i t y to follow through on h i s stated intentions demonstrates, however, that h i s r e a l opinion of Mme de Cleves i s that she, too, i s governed by t h i s maxim. Maxims which stereotype male attitudes and "behaviour are not very common i n La Prlncesse de Cleves, and when they do appear they are not c l e a r l y stated, but must be infe r r e d from a statement by one of the characters. Mme l a dauphine, l n reac- t i o n to M. de Conde's Information about Nemours's opinion of 50 mistresses and balls, makes a distinction between men who are husbands and men who are lovers: "Comment! reprit Mme l a dauphine, M. de Nemours ne veut pas que sa maltresse a i l l e au bai? J'avals bien cru que les marls pouvaient souhaiter que leurs femmes n'y allassent pas; mais, pour les amants, je n'avais jamais pense qu'ils pussent etre de ce sentiment"(p. 164). The opinion which may be Inferred from this i s that husbands and lovers have different attitudes toward the reputations of their women, since the husband would feel i t his right and duty to protect his wife from amorous advances while the lover gains his satisfaction from publicly showing off his latest conquest. The role of the husband i s Inconsistent with the socially accep- table pastime of galanterle and i t has i t s own stereotype as presented by M. de Cleves in his reaction to the unconventional confession: "Que ne me lalssez-vous dans cet aveuglement tran- quille dont jouissent tant de maris?"(p. 291). M. de Cleves bemoans the fact that his wife has performed an act that i s abnormal by comparison to those of other women (who would never consider t e l l i n g their husbands of such a thing), an act that forces him to attempt to abandon the stereotyped role of husband. Mme de Cleves, since she does not f i t the stereotype for a woman of her time, i s always searching for signs of similar non-confor- mity in her men. Disillusioned after finding that Nemours is incapable of being content with his suspicions that she loves him and that he can no longer observe the appropriate social mannerisms where she is concerned, Mme de Cleves reflects upon the situation and comes up with perhaps the most obvious and truthful maxim about the men of the seventeenth-century society: "J'ai eu tort de croire qu'il y eut un homme capable de cacher 51 ce q u i f l a t t e sa g l o l r e " ( p . 262). I t i s t h i s i n a b i l i t y i n men to r e s i s t an o p p o r t u n i t y to shine i n conquest over women t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s to many of the problems encountered by Mme de Cleves throughout the n o v e l . Where the p r e s e n t a t i o n of r o l e and c u l t u r a l s t e r e o t y p e s Is concerned, i t i s the c h a r a c t e r s of the novel who v o i c e e x p l i - c i t statements of a p p r o p r i a t e conduct (maxims), but Mme de l a Fay e t t e r e l i e s p r i m a r i l y on the reader's I m p l i c i t knowledge of the c u l t u r a l code to determine when a c e r t a i n a c t i o n agrees w i t h o r contravenes the accepted n o t i o n s of proper s o c i a l b e h a v i o r . When, on the other hand, the author does present a maxim, i t i s u s u a l l y a statement r e g a r d i n g human nat u r e , a g e n e r a l l y accepted t r u t h which a p p l i e s to a l l s o c i a l b eings. These maxims e x p l a i n o r , perhaps, j u s t i f y the a c t i o n s and r e a c t i o n s of the char a c - t e r s i n s i t u a t i o n s which are not c l e a r l y governed by the I m p l i - c i t c u l t u r a l code. When Mme de l a Fayett e s t a t e s t h a t " jj-a]] p l u p a r t des meres s?imaginent q u ' i l s u f f i t de ne p a r l e r jamais de g a l a n t e r i e de- vant l e s jeunes personnes pour l e s en e l o i g n e r " ( p . 137)• she i s d e s c r i b i n g the Ignorance which shrouds the l i v e s of women i n t h i s s o c i e t y . She e s t a b l i s h e s the norm i n or d e r to show how n e i t h e r Mme de C h a r t r e s nor her daughter conforms t o i t . The maxim i t s e l f c o n t a i n s no value judgement and n e i t h e r does the d e s c r i p - t i o n of Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s i n n o v a t i v e t e a c h i n g s to M i l e de C h a r t r e s , but i n t h e i r j u x t a p o s i t i o n t h e r e i s an I n d i c a t i o n t h a t one t e c h - nique i s more ac c e p t a b l e than the o t h e r i n the eyes of the s o c i e t y . In a sense, t h i s maxim i s a statement, of g e n e r a l t r u t h about human nature s i n c e i t may be i n f e r r e d t h a t most people p r e f e r to a v o i d touchy Issues, hoping t h a t a l l w i l l t u r n out w e l l , 52 r a t h e r than to c o n f r o n t and expose p o s s i b l e dangers, gambling t h a t a knowledge of c o r r u p t i o n w i l l r e s u l t i n s t r e n g t h t o r e s i s t and not l n a d e s i r e to y i e l d . Most of the conduct of the c h a r a t e r s i n the no v e l i s r u l e d by the g u i d e l i n e s s et out by the c u l t u r a l code. Some, however, i s not. The c o n f e s s i o n and the d e c l a r a t i o n made by Mme de Cleves are two such a c t i o n s which f i n d t h e i r j u s t i f i c a t i o n s o l e l y i n the h e r o i n e ' s r a t i o n a l e , which i s independent of the c u l t u r a l code. Other a c t i o n s i n the novel a re e x p l a i n e d by maxims con- c e r n i n g human nature. When Nemours, a f t e r eavesdropping on the c o n f e s s i o n , t e l l s a l l to the vidame de C h a r t r e s , he s t r a y s j u s t a l i t t l e too f a r from the c u l t u r a l code which p r o t e c t s the p r i - vacy o f the domestic u n i t as w e l l as t h a t of the i n d i v i d u a l . Mme de l a Fayett e e x p l a i n s away t h i s c o n t r a v e n t i o n of s o c i a l decorum wit h a g e n e r a l i z i n g statement which c o n t a i n s a maxim r e l a t i n g t o human nature: "Ce p r i n c e e t a i t s i r e m p l i de sa pas- s i o n , e t s i s u r p r i s de ce q u ' i l a v a i t entendu, q u ' i l tomba dans une imprudence assez o r d i n a i r e , q u i e s t de p a r l e r en termes generaux de ses sentiments p a r t i c u l l e r e s e t de c o n t e r ses propres aventures sous des noms empruntes"(p. 2^5). The vidame de C h a r t r e s , too, t r a n s g r e s s e s the understood code of conduct by making p u b l i c the contents of a p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n when he re p e a t s the s t o r y t o h i s l o v e r , Mme de Martigues, adding h i s own s u s p i c i o n s t h a t Nemours i s the one i n v o l v e d . T h i s second Imprudence i s a l s o e x p l a i n e d by the author i n terms of u n i v e r s a l human r e a c t i o n s : "L'envie de s ' e c l a i r c i r , ou p l u t o t l a d i s p o - s i t i o n n a t u r e l l e que l ' o n a de r a c o n t e r tout de que l ' o n s a l t a ce que l ' o n aime, f i t q u ' i l r e d i t a Mme de Martigues l ' a c r t i o n e x t r a o r d i n a i r e de c e t t e personne"(p. 252). N e i t h e r of these 53 maxims i s presented as j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the a c t i o n - i n v o l v e d , but both provide p o s s i b l e reasons, based on a knowledge of human nature and the e f f e c t s of p a s s i o n on human beings i n g e n e r a l , f o r such d e v i a t i o n s from the accepted code of a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l conduct. The c o n t r i b u t i o n made by love t o the mental imbalance which r e s u l t s i n these r a s h d e c l a r a t i o n s i s c l e a r l y d e f i n e d by Mme de l a F a y e t t e . Indeed, most of the maxims presented by the n a r r a - t o r concern the e f f e c t s of lov e and I t s accompanying emotions on the people i n v o l v e d . While M. de Cleves i s a s s e s s i n g h i s chances of g a i n i n g the hand of M i l e de C h a r t r e s , he i s h e l d back by " l a t i m i d i t e que donne 1*amour" and he f i n d s t h a t h i s f r i e n d - s h i p w i t h the c h e v a l i e r de Guise i s becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y remote s i n c e they each r e a l i z e t h a t the oth e r i s a l s o pursuing M i l e de C h a r t r e s . W i t h i n the realm of human r e a c t i o n s , the author f i n d s t h i s circumstance q u i t e l o g i c a l , e x p l a i n i n g i t i n terms of eloignement que donnent l e s memes p r e t e n t i o n s " ( p . l4l). These are not, p r e c i s e l y speaking, maxims, but they are nonethe - v ; l e s s e x p l i c i t statements of g e n e r a l l y accepted t r u t h s about love and human nature. T r u t h i t s e l f i s mentioned i n two b r i e f maxims. In both cases a c h a r a c t e r i s t r y i n g t o e x p l a i n h i s Innocence to another—Nemours to Mme de Cl e v e s , Mme de Cleves to M. de C l e v e s — a n d the author comments on the ease w i t h which each second p a r t y i s convinced: "M. de Nemours l u i d i t encore t o u t ce q u ' i l c r u t propre a l a persuader; e t , comme on persuade aisement une v e r i t e a g r e a b l e , 11 c o n v a i n q u i t Mme de Cl e v e s q u ' i l n ' a v a i t p o i n t de p a r t a c e t t e lettre"(p230); " E l l e l u i p a r l a avec t a n t d'assurance, e t l a v e r i t e se persuade s i aisement l o r s meme q u ' e l l e n'est pas v r a i s e m b l a b l e , que M. de Cleves f u t 54 presque convaincu de son Innocence"(p. 293)• There Is a dis- tinction between une verite agreable and l a verite invraisem- blable which may be expressed in;terms of the second party's willingness or hesitation to accept the truth as i t i s presen- ted, but Mme de la Fayette's maxims stand as similar expressions of the generally accepted notion that, under most circumstances, i t Is easier to convince people of the truth than i t i s to make them believe a l i e . The universal applicability of Mme de l a Fayette's maxims is indicated in one which refers to the practice of galanterle s "Les personnes galantes sont toujours bien aises qu'un pretexte leur donne l i e u de parler a ceux qui les aiment"(p. 2*4-5). This i s stated, interestingly enough, in relation to Mme l a dauphine who is the object of M. d'Anville's admiration, but i t could just as easily refer to the Queen and the vidame, to Mme de Martigues and the vidame, or even to Nemours (as the personne galante) and Mme de Cleves. This maxim also points out the fact that Mme de Cleves is not une personne galante or at least that she tries not to be one since she does not enjoy the atten- tion she gets from Nemours nor does she search out excuses to talk to him. Mme de Cleves is constantly encountering d i f f i c u l - ties due to her refusal to participate in affairs of galanterle. Her involuntary reaction to Nemours's advances i s pleasure, a reaction which she combats with reason based on her mother's teachings. The essential conflict i s summed up by another of Mme de l a Fayette's maxims: "Les paroles les plus obscures d'un homme qui plaft donnent plus d'agitation que des declara- tions ouvertes d'un homme qui ne plaft pas"(p. 193). The affec- tion which Mme de Cleves feels for Nemours makes her particularly 55 susceptible to his rhetoric and to any allusion that might be made to the existence of some liaison between them. Mme de l a Payette, in giving a universally understood source for the predicament, succeeds ln establishing Mme de Cleves's lack of immunity to reactions that are rooted in human nature and points out the f u t i l i t y of trying to go against basic human drives. It i s not surprising that the majority of the author's generalizing statements and actual maxims concern the relation- ship between men and women and the nature of love as i t exists in this society. We have already seen how M. de Cleves and Nemours distinguish Mme de Cleves from the rest of the women of her time by excepting her from inclusion in their own maxims. Some of the generalizing statements that are presented ln the narration also indicate that certain other characters do not exemplify the cultural norm. When Mme de l a Fayette speaks of the King's jealousy in the light of a suspected amorous a f f a i r between Mme de Valentinois and M. de Brissac, marechal de France, she Indicates that this emotion in the King is not demonstrated in the commonly expected manner: "La jalousie du r o i augmenta neanmolns d'une telle sorte qu'il ne put souffrir que ce marechal demeurat a l a cour; mais la jalousie, qui est aigre et vlolente en tous les autres, est douce et moderee en l u i par 1'extreme respect qu'il a pour sa maftresse"(p. l 6 l ) . This statement gives valuable informatiosi about the King's personality which supports the original description of him at the beginning of the novel. More importantly, however, the inferred maxim concerning a generally accepted appreciation of jealousy contributes to the reader's knowledge of the reactions he can expect from most members of the courtly society. The same can be said of a 56 g e n e r a l i t y expressed i n M. de C l e v e s ' s r e a c t i o n to h i s f i r s t view of M i l e de C h a r t r e s : "11 s'apercut que ses rega r d s l'em- b a r r a s s a l e n t , contre 1 ' o r d i n a i r e des jeunes personnes q u i v o i e n t t o u j o u r s avec p l a i s i r l ' e f f e t de l e u r beaute"(p. 138). The read e r r e a l i z e s , f i r s t , t h a t Mme de Cleves i s being d i s t i n g u i s h e d from her contemporaries on the b a s i s of her r e a c t i o n t o M. de Cl e v e s , and secondly, t h a t t h i s statement c o n t a i n s a s p e c i f i c g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about the r e a c t i o n which may be expected from a l l young women who f i n d themselves r e c e i v i n g admiring g l a n c e s from young men. The e f f e c t s of the p a s s i o n experienced by both Mme de C l e v e s and Nemours are c l e a r l y shown i n the events of the n o v e l , but i n some circumstances the p a r t i c u l a r outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of lo v e and the accompanying emotions f e l t by the c h a r a c t e r s are i n d i c a t e d i n r e f e r e n c e t o g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about the nature and e f f e c t s of l o v e i n a seventeenth-century context. Nemours's i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n t o Mme de Cleves i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by v i o l e n t emotion and a s l i g h t m o d i f i c a t i o n i n h i s s o c i a l conduct: " I I es t v r a i a u s s i que, comme M. de Nemours s e n t a i t pour e l l e une i n c l i n a t i o n v i o l e n t e , q u i l u i donnait c e t t e douceur e t c e t en- jouement q u ' i n s p i r e n t l e s premiers d e s i r s de p l a i r e , i l e t a i t encore p l u s aimable q u ' i l n ' a v a l t accoutume de l ' e t r e ; de s o r t e que, se voyant souvent, e t se voyant l ' u n et l ' a u t r e ce q u ' i l y a v a i t de p l u s p a r f a i t a l a cour, i l e t a i t d i f f i c i l e q u ' i l s ne se p l u s s e n t i n f i n i m e n t " ( p . 155)• The e f f e c t of p a s s i o n on Nemours i s s p e c i f i c where the magnitude and nature of h i s emo- t i o n s , and changes i n h i s behavior a re concerned. The a c t u a l nature of the f o r c e which has caused these r e a c t i o n s i s , however, g e n e r a l i z e d , as i s the s p e c u l a t e d outcome of the adventure. 57 Again, the emotion i n v o l v e d Is c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y v i o l e n t , and i t appears to be commonnknowledge t h a t s t r o n g d e s i r e s t o p l e a s e someone can r e s u l t i n a t l e a s t s u p e r f i c i a l changes i n person- a l i t y — N e m o u r s ' s p a s s i o n i n s p i r e s i n him g e n t l e n e s s and g a i e t y . The f a t a l i s m i n h e r e n t In the l a s t statement of the q u o t a t i o n p o i n t s out another g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n i n seventeenth-century s o c i e t y ? when two people of incomparable q u a l i t y are exposed to each o t h e r c o n s t a n t l y , a r e a c t i o n of mutual p l e a s u r e and d e s i r e between them Is i n e v i t a b l e . The r e s u l t s of Nemours's p a s s i o n toward Mme de Gleves are seen i n s e v e r a l episodes of the n o v e l (the l e t t e r , the imprudence a f t e r the c o n f e s s i o n , the n o c t u r n a l v i s i t to Coulommiers) which demonstrate the s t r e n g t h and power of l o v e which tends to over- r i d e reason. Other c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of l o v e are c o n f u s i o n and mixed emotions which, although experienced to some ext e n t by Nemours, are predominantly encountered by Mme de C l e v e s . The d e c l a r a t i o n i n which Mme de Cleves r e v e a l s her l o v e f o r Nemours and then d e n i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of a marriage between them ends on a h o p e f u l note f o r Nemours: "Attendez ce que l e temps pourra f a i r e " ( p . 309)• The always o p t i m i s t i c Nemours i s found by the vidame i n a confused s t a t e of emotion: " I I r e v i n t t r o u v e r M. de Nemours, q u i e t a i t s i p l e i n de j o i e , de t r l s t e s s e , d'etonnement e t d'admiration, e n f i n , de tous l e s sentiments que peut donner une p a s s i o n p l e i n e de c r a l n t e e t d'esperance, q u ' i l n ' a v a i t pas l'usage de l a r a i s o n w ( p . 309). The e f f e c t s of t h i s both f e a r f u l and h o p e f u l emotion a r e , a t the same time, s p e c i f i c a l l y e x h i b i t e d by Nemours and g e n e r a l l y (though i m p r e c i s e l y ) d e f i n e d by the author who presumes t h a t the r e a d e r w i l l concur w i t h the u n i v e r s a l l y accepted t r u t h which Is i m p l i e d . 58 Where Mme de Gleves Is concerned, confusion i s her usual state of mind when she reflects upon her involvement with Nemours. From the beginning, Mme de Gleves has problems dealing with the conflict between pleasure and duty, and Nemours notices this with ease: ". . . i l aimait l a plus aimable personne de l a cour? 11 s'en fai s a i t aimer malgre elle, et 11 voyait dans toutes ses actions cette sorte de trouble et d'embarras que cause 1'amour dans l'lnnocence de l a premiere jeunesse"(p. 203). Nemours recognizes the commonly expected reactions of someone who is not accomplished in the fine art of duplicity and social love- making because It is a generally understood fact that young and inexperienced people would have d i f f i c u l t y coping with the power- f u l effects of passion. It is also generally accepted that the presence of someone toward whom and individual is kindly disposed is a source of pleasure for that individual. Mme de Cleves Is no exception to this rule: "Mme de Cleves demeura seule, et sitot qu'elle ne fut plus soutenue par cette joie que donne l a presence de ce que l'on aime, elle revint comme d'un songe"(p. 235)• But, of course, when the source of pleasure Is gone and the immediate emotions Involved with i t fade in the light of a re- turning sense of duty and social decorum, confusion abounds and motives are questioned: "Veux-je m*engager dans une galanterle? Veux-je manquer a M. de Cleves? Veux-je manquer a moi-meme? Et veux-je enfin m'exposer aux cruels repentirs et aux mortelles douleurs que donne l'amour?w(p. 237). So conditioned i s Mme de Cleves by her mother's presentation of the nature of love and galanterle in their social aspect that, for her, any participation i n either of these practices can only have negative r e s u l t s — only regret and unhappiness can come from unfaithful conduct. 59 R e a c t i o n s , Defence, and S t r a t e g y We have seen how the v a r i o u s c h a r a c t e r s are a f f e c t e d by the i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code and how they attempt t o manipulate c e r t a i n a s p e c t s of i t to achieve t h e i r p e r s o n a l g o a l s . The max- ims which appear i n the no v e l provide support f o r the p r e s c r i p - t i o n s of the i m p l i c i t code by f u r n i s h i n g e x p l i c i t statements about r o l e s , conduct, and human nature i n g e n e r a l . Although Mme de l a Fa y e t t e puts many of these maxims i n her n a r r a t i o n , the c h a r a c t e r s a l s o v o i c e g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about some asp e c t s of l i f e i n the seventeenth c e n t u r y . T h i s second group of maxims i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by u n d e r l y i n g s t r a t e g y . They are s t a t e d e i t h e r i n r e a c t i o n to circumstances d i c t a t e d by the c u l t u r a l code, i n defence of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s a c t i o n s , or i n an attempt t o have an- ot h e r c h a r a c t e r modify h i s b e h a v i o r . I n every case these s t a t e - ments c o n t a i n a g e n e r a l l y accepted t r u t h about human r e a c t i o n s or about the nature of l i f e and love i n t h i s s o c i e t y . One of the most c o n f u s i n g a s p e c t s of s o c i a l l i f e l n the seventeenth century i s the p r a c t i c e of d u p l i c i t y which i s ne- c e s s i t a t e d by the s t r i c t requirements of the code of a p p r o p r a i t e s o c i a l b e h a v i o r . An i n d i v i d u a l may do as he p l e a s e s as long as he maintains a veneer of s o c i a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s p e r s p i c a c i t y where the d i f f e r e n c e between r e a l i t y and i l l u s i o n i s concerned i s shown i n her comments t o her daughter: " S i vous juger sur l e s apparences en ce l i e u - c i , r e p o n d i t Mme de C h a r t r e s , vous serez souvent trompee: ce q u i p a r a l t n ' e s t presque pas l a v e r i t e " ( p . 157). M i l e de C h a r t r e s , b e i n g young and i n e x p e r i e n c e d i n the workings ^of her s o c i a l mi^ l i e u , r e a c t s i n s t i n c t i v e l y to appearances and does not r e a l i z e the importance of examining the a c t i o n s of ot h e r s f o r p o s s i b l e 60 motives. Mme de C h a r t r e s i s t r y i n g t o open her daughter's eyes t o a dangerous c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of s o c i a l l i f e which c o u l d t r a p the younger woman i n t o a bad c h o i c e of a l l i e s based on f a u l t y appearances. T h i s I nformation does not s i t w e l l w i t h M i l e de Ch a r t r e s s i n c e she has been Invested w i t h a strong sense of hon- e s t y and s i n c e r i t y which govern her approach t o l i f e i n t h i s c o m p a r a t i v e l y c o r r u p t s o c i e t y . I t i s not u n t i l she r e a l i z e s t h a t even her husband advocates and p r a c t i c e s d u p l i c i t y ( a f t e r the c o n f e s s i o n ) t h a t Mme de Cl e v e s r e a l l y comes to a p p r e c i a t e the wide scope and i n e v i t a b i l i t y of d i s h o n e s t y i n s o c i a l i n t e r - a c t i o n s , a t which p o i n t she a l s o r e a l i z e s t h a t she, as an i n d i v i - d u a l , cannot l i v e under these c o n d i t i o n s . The nature of l o v e i n the c o u r t l y s o c i e t y i s determined by the c u l t u r a l code, and the e f f e c t s o f t h i s emotion on the people of the co u r t are a d i r e c t r e s u l t of t h e i r a p p r e c i a t i o n of and adherence t o the code. Nemours, f o r whom amb i t i o n and g a l a n t e r i e a re the animating f o r c e s i n l i f e , f i n d s h i m s e l f caught i n an uncomfortable s i t u a t i o n where h i s knowledge and techni q u e s have no e f f e c t on the o b j e c t of h i s amorous i n t e r e s t s . Through h i s t r a i n i n g and experience he r e c o g n i z e s the symptoms of l o v e , but the f i n a l r e s u l t s of h i s p a s s i o n do not f o l l o w t r u e to forms "Quoi! je s e r a i aime de l a p l u s aimable personne du monde et je n' a u r a l c e t exces d'amour que donnent l e s premieres c e r t i t u d e s d ' e t r e aime que pour mieux s e n t i r l a do u l e u r d ' e t r e m a l t r a f t e ! " (pp. 284-85). Nemours i s not c o n d i t i o n e d to expect t h a t any- t h i n g other than p l e a s u r e can r e s u l t from the knowledge t h a t pne i s l o v e d . H i s i n c r e d u l i t y a t d i s c o v e r i n g t h a t , although h i s a c t i o n s f i t the r o l e o f a man i n h i s s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , the a c t i o n s o f the woman i n v o l v e d do not f i t the expected b e h a v i o r 61 p a t t e r n , i s expressed i n t h i s g e n e r a l i z i n g statement which i n d i - r e c t l y s t a t e s the accepted s o c i a l norm d e f i n e d by the i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code. The nature of r e l a t i o n s h i p s between people a t the c o u r t i s based very s t r i c t l y on the code of a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l con- duct as i n d i c a t e d by the vidame de Chartress " . . . l a r e i n e m'a t o u j o u r s tra£te avec beaucoup de d i s t i n c t i o n et d'agrement, et j ' a v a l s eu l i e u de c r o i r e q u ' e l l e a v a i t de l a bonte pour moi; neanmoins, i l n'y a v a i t r i e n de p a r t i c u l i e r , e t je n ' a v a l s j a - mais songe a a v o i r d'autres sentiments pour e l l e que ceux du r e s p e c t " ( p . 217). H i s sense of s o c i a l decorum does not permit M. de C h a r t r e s t o presume t h a t he might a s p i r e to be the Queen's l o v e r . Indeed, the Queen i s not l o o k i n g f o r a l o v e r , but she does seek a s e c r e t and e n t i r e l y devoted c o n f i d a n t . The need f o r such people i n whom an i n d i v i d u a l can c o n f i d e h i s s e c r e t d e s i r e s and f r u s t r a t i o n s i s an understandable by-product of the r e s t r i c - t i v e nature of the c u l t u r a l code. The vidame and the Queen have d i f f e r e n t o p i n i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h i s p r a c t i c e , as r e p o r t e d i n the c o n v e r s a t i o n between the vidame and Nemours d u r i n g the episode of the l e t t e r s "Je d i s q u ' i l n'y a v a i t personne en q u i {j'eusse une confiance] e n t i e r e ; que je t r o u v a l s que l ' o n se r e p e n t a l t t o u j o u r s d'en a v o i r . . . . La r e i n e me d i t . . . que c ' e t a i t une chose n e c e s s a i r e dans l a v i e , que d ' a v o i r quelqu'un a q u i on put p a r l e r , et s u r t o u t pour l e s personnes de son rang" (p. 217). M-.V."de C h a r t r e s ' s maxim r e l a t i n g t o the p i t f a l l s of r e l a t i n g one's s e c r e t s to a c o n f i d a n t c o n t a i n s an element of c r e d i b i l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e he h i m s e l f b e t r a y s the s e c r e t t h a t Nemours c o n f i d e s i n him about the c o n f e s s i o n . The Queen i s speaking from p e r s o n a l experience about the r o l e s and 62 requirements that are thrust upon individuals "by the cultural code and how these prescriptions define a need for a private means of purging the emotions that build up inside a person who i s s t r i c t l y bound by the code. The Queen's perspicacity where the nature and effects of love are concerned i s admirable» "On ne peut se f i e r a ceux qui ^sont amoureux]; on ne peut s'assurer de leur secret. Ils sont trop distraits et trop partages, et leur maitresse leur f a i t une premiere occupation . . ."(p. 221). The imbalance and lack of r e l i a b i l i t y that characterize people who are in love i s a danger to the Queen whose private confidlngs must necessarily remain secret for both social and p o l i t i c a l reasons. The maxim here presented i s a statement of general truth about the power that love can exert over normally rational people, and i t supports the picture of love that is implicitly presented throughout the novel. A rational and logical approach to l i f e does not appear to be one of the aims of the cultural code, although i t i s a desired state of mind for some of the characters. When M. de Gleves i s subjected to his wife's confession of outside amorous interests, his reactions are anticipated, i f not prescribed by the rules of the cultural code-r-jealousy, fury, i r r a t i o n a l i t y — b u t he tri e s to fight these reactions with reason and calmness. He recognizies his powerless positioni ". . . l a consideration d'un mari n'empeche pas que l'on soit amoureux de sa femme" (p. 242). M. de Cleves's maxim i s a statement about the impo- tence of social classifications and their traditions in the face of basic human drives, and i t echoes his early realization that marriage does not necessarily engender the emotions that should, usually, precede its "La qualite de marl l u i donna de 63 plus grands privileges; mais elle ne l u i donna pas une autre place dans le coeur de sa femme"(p. 151)' M. de Cleves i s un- usually perceptive for what appears to be the normal male of the seventeenth century. When, on his deathbed, he pronounces his parting speech to Mme de Cleves, M. de Cleves makes two state- ments about human nature that are hidden in admonitions about his wife's conducts " . . . vous regretterez quelque jour un homme qui vous almait d'une passion veritable et legitime. Vous sen- tirez le chagrin que trouvent les personnes raisonnables dans ces engagements, et vous connaftrez l a difference d'etre almee, comme je vous aimals, a l'etre par des gens qui, en vous temoig- nant de 1'amour, ne cherchent que l'honneur de vous seduire" (p. 291). M. de Cleves i s idealizing when he refers to des personnes raisonnables, for the practice of galanterie and the importance and power accorded to love combine to eliminate the possibility of any rational approach to relationships between men and women. Furthermore, for a man to make such a clear distinction between the two types of love and to openly state his conclusions on the topic in front of a woman demonstrates, i f not a breach of social decorum, at least the potential for contravention of the cultural code. M. de Cleves suffers no consequences from this unconventional openness; his death pre- vents him from dealing with the results of i t . His purpose, however, is not just to shock his wife or to declare his feelings toward her. M. de Cleves i s simply trying to expose two aspects of basic human nature in the hope that his wife w i l l be able to profit from his observations during the rest of her l i f e . Some of the maxims which are stated by the characters are more than simple expressions of a general truth about social 64 conduct and human nature. The characters also use maxims (which, for the most part, support the implicit cultural code) as a justification or a defence of their actions and reactions in a social situation. In some cases a maxim Is used to support a claim of innocence or a lack of involvement in an a f f a i r . By voicing a generalizing statement about expected conduct, a character may show that his conduct does not f i t the pattern and, therefore, that he cannot be the one in question. Mme l a dauphine uses this technique effectively when M. d'Anville and Mme de Cleves agree that she must be the object of Nemours*s passion that i s making him ignore the opportunity to marry into the crown of England. The dauphine can certainly understand this possibility, considering her quality and that of Nemours. But she i s not unperceptive where human reactions are concerned: "Ces sortes de paroles n'echappent point a l a vue de celles qui les causent; elles s'en apercoivent les premieres"(p. 190). The dauphlne knows that were she the object of Nemours's affection, she would be very aware of It. Since she has noticed no signi- ficant demonstrations toward her on the part of Nemours, she can be very sure that she is not the one involved. It is ironic that the dauphlne, who has made such a perceptive statement, should f a i l to see the obvious reaction of Mme de Cleves to the talk about Nemours, a reaction which illustrates the applica- b i l i t y of the maxim. Both Mme de Cleves and her husband use maxims regarding commonly expected social behavior in an attempt to prove their innocence as to who made public the fact and contents of the confession. Mme de Cleves makes a generalizing statement about the characteristics of "extraordinary" women and about the expec- 65 t e d r e a c t i o n of a man to whom such a c o n f e s s i o n might be made: " I I n'y a pas d'apparence qu'une femme, capable d'une chose s i e x t r a o r d i n a i r e , eut l a f a i b l e s s e de l a r a c o n t e r ; apparement son mari ne l ' a u r a i t raconte non p l u s , ou ce s e r a i t un mari b i e n i n d i g n e du procede que l ' o n a u r a l t eu avec l u i " ( p . 257)* I t has not been suspected t h a t Mme de Cleves may be i n v o l v e d i n the a f f a i r i n q u e s t i o n , so i t i s not r e a l l y a matter of proving her innocence. Nonetheless, Mme de Cleves i s t r y i n g t o e s t a b l i s h the f a c t t h a t i t would take a very unusual woman to engage i n t h i s type of a c t i o n and t h a t to make p u b l i c such a g e s t u r e would be a c o n t r a v e n t i o n of c o n v e n t i o n a l domestic p r a c t i c e s as d e f i n e d by the c u l t u r a l code. S i n c e she does not openly conduct h e r s e l f i n any manner which would i n d i c a t e t h a t she i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y , Mme de Cleves succeeds i n c o v e r i n g up any h i n t of involvement i n the a c t u a l episode. Her statement about the husband i s expressed i n u n s p e c l f i c terms, but i t does c o n t a i n an i n d i c a t i o n of the awakening sus- » i k p i c i o n t h a t M. de C l e v e s might be the c u l p r i t . When c o n f r o n t e d by t h i s a c c u s a t i o n , M. de Cleves defends h i s innocent p o s i t i o n i n the same way by a p p e a l i n g to h i s w i f e ' s knowledge of human na t u r e : "A-t-on un ami au monde a q u i on v o u l u t f a i r e une t e l l e c o n f i d e n c e , r e p r i t M. de C l e v e s , et v o u d r a i t - o n e c l a l r c i r ses soupgons au p r i x d'apprendre a quelqu'un ce que l ' o n s o u h a i t e r a i t de se cacher a soi-meme?"(p. 259). The maxim i n h e r e n t i n these q u e s t i o n s d e a l s with the concepts of decency and s e l f - e s t e e m . M. de Cleves d i s t i n g u i s h e s h i m s e l f from the mari i n d i g n e on the b a s i s of wanting to hide the knowledge of h i s w i f e ' s i n f i d e l i t y from the whole world as w e l l as from h i m s e l f . He knows t h a t not o n l y would the woman be s u b j e c t e d t o p u b l i c censure, but he, too, 66 would be r i d i c u l e d f o r h i s I n a b i l i t y to c o n t r o l and to s a t i s f y h er. A f t e r her husband's death, Mme de Cl e v e s i s l e f t t o combat Nemours's advances without the p r o t e c t i o n of a s o c i a l r o l e which can e f f e c t i v e l y p r o h i b i t communication w i t h him. The c u l t u r a l code does not a l l o w f o r an unattached woman to r e s i s t the a t t e n - t i o n s of men as Mme de Cleves r e s i s t s Nemours a t the end of the n o v e l , and t h e r e f o r e Mme de Cl e v e s has t o f i n d some means of j u s t i f y i n g her a c t i o n s and d e c i s i o n s . The c o n v e r s a t i o n which takes place between Nemours and Mme de Cleves i n the vidame's appartments i s a c o n t r a v e n t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code which does not condone p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n s between men and women who are not mar r i e d or otherwise r e l a t e d . N e i t h e r i s there any p r o v i s i o n f o r the candor with which Mme de Cleves d e c l a r e s h e r s e l f to Ne- mours; of t h i s Mme de Cleves i s w e l l aware, as she i n d i c a t e s i n her opening statements: "Puisque vous v o u l e z que je vous p a r l e . . . je l e f e r a l avec une s l n c e r i t e que vous t r o u v e r e z m a l a i s e - ment dans l e s personnes de mon s e x e w ( p . 301) . Mme de Cleves invokes her uniqueness i n comparison to the other women of her s o c i a l group as a defense f o r unconventional a c t i o n s . The de- c l a r a t i o n c o n t a i n s Mme de Cl e v e s ' s r e s o l u t i o n s t o have no f u r t h e r c o n t a c t w i t h N e m o u r s — r e s o l u t i o n s which a r e not c o n s i s t e n t w i t h her new r o l e as a widowed la d y a t the c o u r t . A c c o r d i n g to the r u l e s of the c u l t u r a l code, she i s f r e e , a f t e r a s u i t a b l e p e r i o d of mourning, t o engage i n amorous endeavors and a f f a i r s of g a l a n t e r i e and, indeed, she would be s t r o n g l y encouraged t o e n t e r t a i n the advances o f such a man as Nemours. But a g a i n Mme de Cleves chooses an unconventional o p t i o n and j u s t i f i e s her c hoice w i t h g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s r e g a r d i n g human nature and l o v e : 67. Mais l e s hommes, c o n s e r v e n t - i l s de l a p a s s i o n dans ces engagements e t e r n e l s ? D o i s - j e e s p e r e r un m i r a c l e en ma faveur e t p u i s - j e me mettre en e t a t de v o i r certainement f i n i r c e t t e p a s s i o n dont je f e r a i s toute ma f e l i c i t e ? M. de Gleves e t a i t p e u t - e t r e 1'unique homme du monde capable de conserver de 1*amour dans l e mariage. Ma de s t i n e e n'a pas v o u l u que j ' a i e pu p r o f i t e r de ce bon- heur; p e u t - e t r e a u s s i que sa p a s s i o n n ' a v a i t s u b s i s t e que parce q u ' i l n'en a u r a l t pas trouve en moi. Mais je n' a u r a i s pas l e meme moyen de conserver l a v o t r e r je c r o i s meme que l e s o b s t a c l e s ont f a i t v o t r e Constance, (p. 306) Mme de Cleves does not see t h a t the pas s i o n s which may l e a d t o marriage can l a s t the d u r a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p , and she i s sure t h a t Nemours 1s i n f a t u a t i o n w i t h her i s p a r t l y based on the o b s t a c l e s which separate them, thus g i v i n g the f i n a l conquest more value f o r the f a c t t h a t the hunt was r i g o r - ous and demanding. These p e r c e p t i v e o b s e r v a t i o n s form the b a s i s f o r Mme de Cl e v e s t o r e j e c t the p o s s i b i l i t y of marrying Nemours. But, a t the same time,as she r e t i r e s from a c t i v e s o c i a l l i f e t o a v o i d him, she i s c r e a t i n g another o b s t a c l e which feeds Ne* mours's p a s s i o n , s i n c e h'e*really does not t h i n k t h a t she can abide by her d e c i s i o n f o r very l o n g . Although maxims may be used t o s u b s t a n t i a t e a c l a i m of inno- cence, there i s another aspect t o them which can prove the oppo- s i t e . The danger of defending o n e s e l f too s t r o n g l y i s expressed i n a g e n e r a l i z a t i o n proposed by M. de Conde while d i s c u s s i n g Nemours's maxims about m i s t r e s s e s and b a l l s : "L'on d i s p u t e c o n t r e M. de Nemours, Madame . . . et i l defend avec t a n t de c h a l e u r l a cause q u ' i l s o u t i e n t q u ' i l f a u t que ce s o i t l a s i e n n e . Je c r o i s qu*.il a quelque maftresse q u i l u i donne de 1'inquietude quand e l l e e s t au b a i , t a n t i l trouve que c ' e s t une chose fa-? cheuse pour un amant, que d'y v o i r l a personne q u ' i l aime"(p. 164). And t h i s i s not the on l y time t h a t Nemours's tone and i n s i s t e n c e g i v e s away h i s involvement i n a supposedly f i c t i c i o u s adventure, 68 f o r when he t e l l s the vidame about the c o n f e s s i o n , " i l l a conta avec t a n t de c h a l e u r e t avec t a n t d'admiration que l e vidame soupconna aisement que c e t t e h i s t o i r e r e g a r d a i t ce p r i n c e " (pp. 2^5-46). I t i s w e l l known t h a t loud and i n s i s t e n t d e n i a l s g e n e r a l l y i n d i c a t e a degree of g u i l t , and Nemours f a l l s i n t o the t r a p d e s p i t e h i s t a l e n t f o r r h e t o r i c . Using maxims to i l l u s t r a t e how a c h a r a c t e r ' s conduct does not exemplify the s o c i a l norm i s , to a c e r t a i n e x t e n t , i n d i c a - t i v e of some need f o r s t r a t e g y i n d e a l i n g w i t h common s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s , and we have a l r e a d y seen how important i t i s f o r most of the c h a r a c t e r s to scheme and t o p l a n out t h e i r a c t i o n s so t h a t they can get what they want w h i l e s t i l l o b s e r v i n g the r u l e s of a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l conduct as l a i d down by t h e i r s o c i e t y . While most of the scheming has to do with t r y i n g to circumvent the r u l e s of the c u l t u r a l code, some of i t i s aimed a t i n f l u e n - c i n g the conduct of another c h a r a c t e r . Both Mme de C h a r t r e s and M. de Nemours use maxims or g e n e r a l i z i n g statements i n an attempt t o i n f l u e n c e the b e h a v i o r of Mme de C l e v e s , although t h e i r i n - t e n t i o n s d i f f e r g r e a t l y where the p r l n c e s s e ' s v i r t u e i s concerned. Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s t o the u p b r i n g i n g and s o c i a l t r a i n i n g of her daughter. M i l e de C h a r t r e s Is exposed to d e s c r i p t i o n s of men and women and t h e i r a c t i o n s , o f s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s (marriage, the c o u r t ) , a l l of which c o n t a i n morals and advice which should be heeded. The mother has v e r y d e f i n i t e i d e a s about the nature and conduct of women, and about the dan- g e r s i n v o l v e d i n l i v i n g i n the c l o s e s o c i e t y of the c o u r t . When speaking of men to her daughter, Mme de C h a r t r e s c o n c e n t r a t e s on t h e i r d i s h o n e s t y , t h e i r scheming, and t h e i r u n f a i t h f u l n e s s : ". . . e l l e l u i c o n t a i t l e peu de s i n c e r i t e des hommes, l e u r s 69 tromperies et l e u r i n f i d e l i t e . . ."(p. 137). M i l e de C h a r t r e s i s c a u t i o n e d about " l e s malheurs domestiques ou plongent l e s engagements" and i s encouraged to a v o i d any h i n t of an "aventure de g a l a n t e r i e " . The daughter's v i r t u o u s r e p u t a t i o n should, a c - c o r d i n g t o Mme de C h a r t r e s , be her most p r i z e d p o s s e s s i o n , and she i s a d v i s e d a g a i n s t doing anything which might g i v e her a bad ones ". . . je vous c o n s e i l l e d ' e v l t e r , autant que vous pourrez, de l u i p a r l e r , et s u r t o u t en p a r t i c u l i e r , parce que, Mme l a dauphine vous t r a f t a n t comme e l l e f a i t , on d i r a i t b i e n - t o t que vous et e s l e u r c o n f i d a n t e , et vous savez comblen c e t t e r e p u t a t i o n e s t desagreable"(pp. 168-69). The r e a l i n t e n t behind t h i s statement i s to g e n t l y separate Nemours from her daughter, s i n c e Mme de Ch a r t r e s r e c o g n i z e s the beginnings of a g a l a n t e r i e between the two. But t h i s does not d i m i n i s h the v a l u e of the statement about the importance which s o c i e t y p l a c e s upon a woman r e p u t a t i o n . Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s s t r a t e g y i n a l l her te a c h i n g s i s to p r o t e c t her daughter from f a l l i n g "comme l e s a u t r e s femmes" (p. 172) i n t o u n v l r t u o u s conduct and a p a s s i o n f o r i l l i c i t a f - f a i r s . Even though she v o i c e s few c l e a r - c u t maxims, Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about human nature are based on her ob s e r v a t i o n s of the s o c i e t y i n which she l i v e s . Due t o the nature of h i s r o l e of homme g a l a n t , i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t the m a j o r i t y of Nemours's maxims concern male-female r e l a t i o n s h i p s and the nature of love i n h i s s o c i a l m i l i e u . Nor i s i t s u r p r i s i n g t o f i n d t h a t almost a l l of them c o n t a i n an u n d e r l y i n g s t r a t e g y which aims at having Mme de Siev e consent to being h i s l o v e r . Scheming i s an I n t e g r a l p a r t of Nemours's make-up which, when combined wi t h h i s r h e t o r i c a l prowess and t a l e n t f o r dramatic g e s t u r e s , a l l o w s him to t u r n 70 any g e n e r a l l y accepted maxim i n t o a statement which Is d i r e c t l y a p p l i c a b l e t o h i m s e l f or to Mme de C l e v e s . Nemours, who has been w a i t i n g i m p a t i e n t l y f o r Mme de Cleves t o r e t u r n to s o c i e t y a f t e r her mother's death, uses a maxim to equate h i s c u r r e n t s t a t e of mind t o t h a t of Mme de C l e v e s and to i n t r o d u c e h i s f i r s t ( v e i l e d ) d e c l a r a t i o n of h i s f e e l i n g s toward her: "Les grandes a f f l i c t i o n s e t l e s p a s s i o n s v l o l e n t e s . . . f o n t de grands changements dans l ' e s p r i t " ( p . 192). He has c o n t r i v e d to f i n d a time to be alone w i t h Mme de Cleves 1-' and w i t h t h i s maxim, f o l l o w e d by a long d e s c r i p t i o n where the i n d e f i n i t e pronoun "on" f i g u r e s prominently, Nemours t r i e s t o e l i c i t a r e a c t i o n which w i l l i n d i c a t e her f e e l - i n g s f o r him. He succeeds i n h i s s t r a t e g y s i n c e Mme de C l e v e s becomes embarrassed and s i l e n t , being rescued o n l y by the a r r i v a l o f her husband. As Nemours comes to r e a l i z e the s t r e n g t h of Mme de C l e v e s ' s d e v o t i o n to duty (her husband), he i s l e s s and l e s s content to r e l y upon g e n t l e m a n i p u l a t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code to achieve h i s g o a l . Toward the end of the n o v e l , he p r o f e r s more maxims which are intended t o a l t e r Mme de C l e v e s ' s way of t h i n k i n g . The f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n of Nemours's d a r i n g takes p l a c e d u r i n g the d i s c u s s i o n of the c o n f e s s i o n between Mme l a dauphine and Mme de C l e v e s . R e a l i z i n g h i s g u i l t i n the a f f a i r , Nemours i s quick t o b u i l d up Mme de C l e v e s ' s s u s p i c i o n s t h a t her husband might have been the one who made the c o n f e s s i o n p u b l i c knowledge: "La j a l o u s i e . . . e t l a c u r i o s i t e d'en s a v o i r davantage que l ' o n ne l u i a d i t , peuvent f a i r e f a i r e b i e n des imprudences a un mari"(p. 257). S i n c e j e a l o u s y and c u r i o s i t y where l o v e i s con- cerned are w e l l understood by a l l those present, Nemours*s maxim c o n t a i n s enough c r e d i b i l i t y f o r Mme de C l e v e s , a c t i n g upon t h i s 71 i n s i n u a t i o n , t o accuse her husband of t r e a c h e r y . Nemours 1s purpose i s t w o - f o l d : f i r s t , t o s h i f t a t t e n t i o n away from him- s e l f , and secondly, to d r i v e a wedge between Mme de Cleves and her husband. In the f i n a l meeting between Nemours and Mme de C l e v e s , the duke v o i c e s two maxims i n an attempt to show h i s l a d y ex- a c t l y how she i s viewed by him and the extent to which her r e s o - l u t i o n s w i l l be s u c c e s s f u l . Nemours has many o p i n i o n s r e g a r d i n g m i s t r e s s e s and few r e g a r d i n g w i v e s — e x p e r i e n c e i n the one a r e a and a l a c k of i t i n the other c o u l d be the r e a s o n — b u t he does t h i n k t h a t i n the case of Mme de Cleves the two female r o l e s can be u n i t e d i n the one woman: ". . . vous et e s p e u t - e t r e l a s e u l e personne en q u i ces deux choses s o l e n t jamais trouvees au degre q u * e l l e s sont en vous. Tous ceux q u i epousent des m a f t r e s s e s dont l i s sont aimes, tremblent en l e s epousant, e t regardent avec c r a l n t e , par r a p p o r t aux a u t r e s , l a conduite q u ' e l l e s ont eue avec eux . . ."(p. 305)• U n f o r t u n a t e l y , l n s t a t i n g the very c r e d i b l e maxim, "Once a l o v e r , always a l o v e r , " and even though he excepts Mme de Cleves from b e l o n g i n g to t h i s c a t e g o r y of people, Nemours i s trapped by h i s own words. In s t e a d of c o n v i n c i n g Mme de Cleves t h a t t h e i r marriage i s p o s s i b l e , he o n l y succeeds i n v o i c i n g the exact f e a r s t h a t the l a d y has about him—Nemours w i l l always be a womanizer, and once the glamour has worn o f f , he w i l l continue h i s amorous c a r e e r . S t i l l c o n f i d e n t of h i s powers of s e d u c t i o n , Nemours t r i e s another approach, t h i s time a p p e a l i n g to Mme de C l e v e s ' s know- ledge of human nature: " I I e s t p l u s d i f f i c i l e que vous ne pen- sez, Madame, de r e s l s t e r a ce q u i nous p l a f t e t a ce q u i nous j aime'Mpp. 307-08). He s t i l l misjudges Mme de C l e v e s ' s i n n e r 72 strength and hopes that he w i l l be able to persuade her to aban- don her resolutions i n favour of the easier route of giving i n to desires and pleasure. Nemours's intent i s c l e a r , as are the r u l e s of h i s game. The conquest of the lady i s the goal, and anything that could possibly f l a t t e r her, unbalance her, f r i g h t e n her, i s a permissible weapon, e s p e c i a l l y devastating i f i t can be stated i n such a way as to suggest a generally accepted truth which should be obeyed or acted out. 7 3 Conclusion The maxims and generalizations which are presented In La Princesse de Cleves, both i n the narration and i n dialogue between the characters, appear to support the c u l t u r a l code which i s Implicit i n Mme de l a Payette's descriptions of people and t h e i r actions. They do not explain the reasons f o r c e r t a i n behaviour, nor do they give a rationale f o r the seventeenth-cen- tury value structure; they merely restate, i n e x p l i c i t terms, the rules and r e s t r i c t i o n s which are imposed upon the members of the court. The society and i t s values are reconstructed by the author f o r the reader who must remember that, while he i s only a spectator and b a s i c a l l y uninfluenced by the c u l t u r a l code defined i n the novel, the characters must operate within the bounds of t h e i r society's rules as they are presented. In other words, there are two worlds presented i n the novel, one which may be objec t i v e l y appreciated by the reader, and one which sub- j e c t i v e l y influences the conduct of the characters. This i s not to say that the two worlds are vastly d i s s i m i l a r l n substance— indeed, they are quite a l i k e . Where they d i f f e r i s i n the extent to which they have an e f f e c t on reader or character. For the reader, the use of maxims or e x p l i c i t statements of generally accepted truths about love, ro l e s , and human nature was no novelty. One of the popular parlour games of the seven- teenth century was the practice of making up maxims which demon- strate the Individual's wit and perceptions of the world about him. The popularity of l a Rochefoucauld's Maxlmes at t e s t s to the in t e r e s t shown by most people i n s o c i a l order and i n the workings of human minds and emotions. It must be remembered, however, that these maxims were mainly an instrument of amusement and 74 pleasure, with no serious consideration being given to their value as catalysts of social change. It i s for this reason that the reader can read the maxims in the novel and agree with the proposed code of conduct, and then go about his own l i f e governed byjonly those rules that he feels apply directly to him. For the characters in La Prinoesse de Cleves, on the other hand, the maxims in the novel present s t r i c t rules of conduct and furnish justifications for their actions. There i s only one instance where maxims appear i n the guise of a parlour game, and that i s when Nemours i s expounding his theories on mistresses and balls. The rest of the generalizing statements about human conduct and emotion have the underlying intent of justification or strategy, when voiced by a character, and of social judge- ment, when presented by the narrator. The effects of the pre?? scrlptions of appropriate social conduct, whether implicit or explicit, are keenly f e l t by the characters who find themselves constantly in conflict when their desires cannot be accommodated within the guidelines of the cultural code. The reader realizes the omnipotence of the author where the events and actions of the novel are concerned. He i s re- quired to draw upon his own social experience to arrive at a total understanding of how the fi c t i o n a l society operates, but he is not bound by the prescriptions of this society ln the same way that the characters are. But just as the author imposes limitations on the characters in terms of what they may do and say, so the reader puts restrictions on how far the author's imagination and creativity may go in terms of cultural v e r i s i - militude. Almost every subtle writer w i l l s l i p maxims or morals into his work. This technique was especially prevalent in the 75. eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when social commentary and criticism was one of the animating forces "behind a novelist's art. Balzac was, of course, a master of the maxim which stereo- typed human behavior to the finest degree, but he was by no means subtle in his technique. His value judgements were unequivocal, leaving no room for the reader to project his own opinions or to make his own choices as to the relative worth, good or bad, of any particular character. Mme de l a Fayette, in contrast, furnishes the rules of the society and leaves the judgement of actions up to the reader. As long as the maxims are not invented purely to justify a seemingly gratuitous sequence of events, the reader i s quite agreeable to them. Problems do arise, however, when the generalizing statements do not conform to what i s com- monly accepted as being true, or when the events of a novel do not correspond to what would be the normally expected actions in real l i f e under similar circumstances. Several of the events in La Prlncesse de Gleves f a l l into this last category and have been widely c r i t i c i z e d for a lack of verisimilitude since the earliest appearance of the novel. The most f e r t i l e area of dis- pute has been Mme de Gleves's confession, but also subject to discussion i s her declaration of love for Nemours and the appar- ently gratuitous death of M. de Gleves. Seventeenth-century criticism of Mme de l a Fayette's novel concerned i t s e l f with two general questions of verisimilitude: the historical and the cultural. Valincour i s the primary c r i t i c of historical invra1semblanoe• Upset by the numerous deviations from historical facts, he examines the role of the novel as a genre in relation to history as It has been recorded by historians. Mme de l a Fayette stated in a letter to 76 Lescheraine that her novel would be better called "memoires" and that she views i t as "une parfaite imitation de l a Cour et de l a maniere dont on y v i t " (Pingaud, p. 142). Vallncour takes this last statement too l i t e r a l l y , looking for an "histoire secrete" where none exists. It i s not Mme de l a Payette's pur- pose in La Prlncesse de Cleves to present historical facts; she wants to describe the effects of this society's system of values, not just the details of the society i t s e l f . The question of cultural vraisemblance in the novel i s directly related to the picture of society presented by the author. Since Mme de l a Fayette has chosen to situate her story in the court of Henri II, she is restricted as to what sort of people may figure In i t and what shape may be given to their moral structure. A l l of the characters' basic qualities—physi- cal t r a i t s , mental adeptness, emotional susceptibility—are determined by the social frame in which they have been placed, and their actions are (or should be) equally well defined. It is precisely this predetermination of actions and attitudes which leads into l a querelle de 1'aveu which started with Mme de Sevigne and Bussy-Rabutin, and which continues even now. In their criticism of the novel, Mme de Sevigne and Bussy-Rabutin object to the confession on the grounds that i t does not conform to commonly expected practices ln their social milieu. They are, in one sense, examples of the ideal reader for whom Mme de l a Fayette's style of narration is intended, since they would be able to appreciate-the subtle references to accepted social practices and appropriate demonstrations of emotion, and would be able to f i l l in the details that are Implied in such state- ments as "Mme de Cleves sortlt de l a chambre de sa mere en l'etat 77 que l ' o n peut s'lmaginer . . ."(p. 173) and "Ces p a r o l e s . . . l u i causerent une d o u l e u r q u ' i l e s t a i s e de s'imaginer"(p. 253)• On the o t h e r hand, these two people (and the m a j o r i t y of the r e a d e r s who wrote t h e i r o p i n i o n s to Le Mercure G a l a n t , A p r i l , 1678) are so i n v o l v e d i n the study and p r a c t i c e of s o c i a l blenseance t h a t t h e i r c r i t i c i s m does not evolve beyond a condem- n a t i o n of a c t i o n s which do not correspond to the c u l t u r a l code. Indeed, i t c o u l d be e x a c t l y f o r these people, who are b l i n d e d by t h e i r r e s t r i c t e d view of s o c i e t y , t h a t Mme de l a Payette's n o v e l i s i n t e n d e d — a s s o c i a l commentary and c r i t i c i s m . What- ever the author's i n t e n t may be, the q u e s t i o n of vralsemblance i s s t i l l the most a c t i v e area where c r i t i c i s m of La P r l n c e s s e de Cleves i s concerned. H i s t o r i c a l vralsemblance i s a c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n the c r e a t i o n of a n o v e l o n l y i n terms of background i n f o r m a t i o n which may supply motives f o r a c t i o n s and i n terms of a s o c i o l o g i c a l back- drop which determines c e r t a i n d e s c r i p t i v e d e t a i l s w i t h i n the a c t u a l s t o r y . Methods of t r a v e l , modes of d r e s s , and s t y l e s of speech must a l l be chosen w i t h r e s p e c t f o r the h i s t o r i c a l p l a c e - ment of the events. Value s t r u c t u r e s , too, are an important c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n a r e a l i s t i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of an h i s t o r i c a l e r a . But a l l of these f a c t o r s are very g e n e r a l i n t h e i r nature and a p p l i c a t i o n to the n o v e l , p l a y i n g a subordinate r o l e to the n o v e l i t s e l f which a c t u a l l y c r e a t e s i t s own r u l e s of vra1semblance through the author's choice of c h a r a c t e r s , a c t i o n , and s e t t i n g . Jonathan C u l l e r , i n "Convention and N a t u r a l i z a t i o n " , de- f i n e s f i v e l e v e l s of vralsemblance of which three are r e l e v a n t t o a study of La P r l n c e s s e de C l e v e s . He speaks f i r s t o f a " s o c i a l l y g i v e n t e x t . . . which i s taken as the ' r e a l world'." 78 His second level deals mainly with cultural vralsemblance which would be supported by maxims, a "shared knowledge which would be recognized by participants as part of culture." The third level concerns "a specifically literary and a r t i f i c i a l vralsem- blance" which derives from the author's particular Imaginative world as well as from the expectations and limitations of a particular genre. The fourth and f i f t h levels of vralsemblance depend upon a definition of the specific genre to which a work belongs, with the fourth level dealing with works which deny that they belong to a specified genre (Jacques le fatallste) and the f i f t h with works which employ parody and irony to gain a vraisemblance which derives from the original work (p. 140). Since the genre to which Mme de l a Fayette's work belongs was not decided at the time, these last two levels of vralsemblance do not enter into our discussion. The f i r s t two levels, however, are directly related to La Prlncesse de Cleves on the basis of the sociological portrait which i s presented therein, and the third level can be related to the psychology of the author her- self. Through her selection of contemporary society for the set- ting of the novel, Mme de l a Fayette's choice of characters i s restricted to the type of people who exist in this society and the world that she creates i s expected to mirror that from which her observations have been taken. The basic descriptions of people in the novel are drawn from what we know to be natural attributes of human beings. In this sense, Mme de l a Fayette is f a i t h f u l l y observing Culler's f i r s t level of vralsemblance, that of the 'real', for hers i s "a discourse which requires no justification because i t seems to derive directly from the struc- 79 ture of the world. We speak of people having minds and bodies, as thinking, imagining, remembering, feeling pain, loving and hating, etc., and do not have to justify such discourse by adducing philosophical arguments. It i s simply the text of the natural attitude . . . and hence vralsemblable"(pp. 140-41). The reader recognizes and can associate himself with the type of character that is featured in the novel and has only to draw upon his own knowledge of people and the possible qualities which may be attributed to them to realize the verisimilitude of these descriptions. Gerard Genette defines le. vralsemblable as "le principe formel de respect de l a norme, . . . 1*existence d'un rapport d'implication entre l a conduite particullere attribute a t e l personnage, et telle maxime generale impllcite et recue"(p.?4- 75)• Here we leave the realm of physical descriptions and enter into that of actions and social conduct. We have seen that Mme de l a Fayette leaves out many of the details which pertain to courtly practices and everyday emotions and actions, relying on the reader to draw from his own experiences to supply the total picture. For background information, this technique works because both author and reader are aware of what actions constitute the norm in their social milieu. The maxims of which Genette speaks figure in Culler's second level of vraisemblance. "a range of cultural stereotype or accepted knowledge which a work may use but which do not enjoy the same privileged status as elements of the f i r s t type, in that the culture i t s e l f recognizes them as generalizations"(Culler, p. 141). Most of the maxims to which the action of La Prlncesse de Cleves responds are implicit in the descriptions of the court and i t s members, descriptions 80 which c o n t a i n I n d i c a t i o n s of value judgements where the moral s t r u c t u r e of the s o c i e t y i s concerned; to t h i s extent, the n o v e l may be adjudged "un r e c i t dont l e s a c t i o n s repondent . . . a un c o r p s de maximes recues comme v r a i e s par l e p u b l i c auquel 11 s'adresse . . ."(Genette, p. 7 6 ) . But when a c t i o n s such as Mme de Gleves's c o n f e s s i o n are d e s c r i b e d and when there appears to be no maxim, i m p l i c i t or e x p l i c i t , which a p p l i e s t o i t , the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of such an event i s open to q u e s t i o n . The c u l t u r a l l y accepted norm i s c l e a r l y d e f i n e d by Mme de l a F a y e t t e l n her n a r r a t i o n as w e l l as i n the d i a l o g u e be- tween the c h a r a c t e r s , and although t h i s i s accomplished, f o r the most p a r t , through i m p l i c i t means, there are some e x p l i c i t l y s t a t e d maxims which r e l a t e t o a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l conduct. There i s no apparent problem r e l a t i n g t o c u l t u r a l vralsemblance while the a c t i o n of the novel d e a l s with people who exemplify the norm. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, the heroine does not f a l l Into t h i s c a t e gory. Her c o n f e s s i o n and her r e f u s a l t o marry Nemours are s i g n s of a b e r r a n t behaviour s i n c e n e i t h e r can be e x p l a i n e d by a c u l t u r a l l y a d m i s s i b l e maxim. 1^ But Mme de Gleves's behaviour i s never exemplary of the conduct expected from a seventeenth-cen- t u r y l a d y , as d i s c u s s e d i n our second chapter. Thus an impor- t a n t c r i t i c a l q u e s t i o n a r i s e s * we can understand t h a t the r u l e s c o n t a i n e d i n the c u l t u r a l code are a p p l i c a b l e to a l l those c h a r a c - t e r s who l i v e under i t , and we can a p p r e c i a t e t h a t those charac- t e r s who b e l i e v e i n the code w i l l demonstrate behaviour which i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h i t s p r e s c r i p t i o n s , i s i t , then, u n b e l i e v a b l e t h a t a c h a r a c t e r who chooses not to or who cannot operate w i t h i n the r u l e s of the code should opt f o r a course of a c t i o n which i s not compatible with what i s g e n e r a l l y expected? In the case 81 of Mme de Gleves we are no longer concerned with a specific cultural vraisemblance but rather with a verisimilitude which must derive from the text and the character, independent of culturally acceptable interpretation. This brings us to the third level of vraisemblance cited by Culler, that of "the purely literary vraisemblance of a par- ticular imaginative world"(p. 145)• Culler maintains that a text may stand "in a certain relation to Its author and that i t may therefore be naturalized or made in t e l l i g i b l e by relating i t s elements to a particular psychological vraisemblance"(p. 146). It i s precisely through.an understanding of Mme de l a Fayette's conception of her creation, as well as the psychology of her outlook on society, that we may appreciate the verisimilitude of Mme de Cleves's confession and her refusal to marry Nemours. La Princesse de Cleves i s , above a l l , a roman d'analyse and, as Pingaud observes, Mme de l a Fayette i s the f i r s t writer to push the analysis to such a point that i t becomes more impor- tant than the action of the novel (p. 135) • The sequence of events ln the novel, and even the events themselves, are impor- tant only ln that they provide the stimulus for Mme de Cleves to reflect upon her emotions and intentions. That Mme de Cleves is the only character whose analyses are constantly indicated and recorded is indicative of her distinction from the rest of the members of the court. Her psychological conflicts are her private concern; she shares tham with nobody, not even her mother who is a somewhat similar individual. At the root of Mme de Cleves's conflicts are her respect for honesty in a basically dishonest social environment and her sheltered upbringing which has given her an idealistic impression of the power of the 82 i n d i v i d u a l t o r e s i s t the pr e s s u r e of h i s peer group. When she f i n d s t h a t open honesty (the c o n f e s s i o n ) only b r i n g s her more c o n f l i c t s than c o v e r t d u p l i c i t y , and t h a t she, as an i n d i v i d u a l , has b a r e l y the s t r e n g t h t o f i g h t her own d e s i r e s , l e t alone the e x i g e n c i e s of her s o c i a l group, Mme de Cleves r e s o l v e s t h a t the only way she can g a i n any measure of r e s p e c t f o r h e r s e l f i s t o i s o l a t e h e r s e l f from the d i s r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e of t h i s s o c i e t y . Mme de l a Fayet t e wrote i n a l e t t e r t o Menage: "Je s u i s s i per- suadee que l'amour e s t une chose incommode que j ' a i de l a j o i e 1 ft que mes amis et moi en soyons exempts." For Mme de C l e v e s , too, lo v e i s troublesome s i n c e i t causes problems i n her marriage (M. de C l e v e s demands i t ; she cannot provide i t ) and i n her s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s (Nemours pursues her amorously; she i s not f r e e t o respond, and n e i t h e r does she know how.) Mme de Cl e v e s ' s a n a l y s i s of lo v e and i t s e f f e c t s upon her forms the b a s i s f o r her r e s o l u t i o n s a t the end of the n o v e l . She r e c o g n i z e s t h a t she i s unique i n her i n a b i l i t y to accept b l i n d l y p u b l i c o p i n i o n and s o c i a l custom, and she a l s o r e a l i z e s t h a t because of t h i s r e j e c t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code she cannot l i v e f o r any g r e a t l e n g t h o f time i n the s o c i e t y of the c o u r t . Her r e f u s a l to marry Nemours i s not a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of a f l a g - r a n t d e n i a l of s o c i a l order any more than her c o n f e s s i o n i s a brave attempt t o break down the a r t i f i c i a l l y ; ' c r e a t e d b a r r i e r s l n communication between men and women i n t h i s s o c i e t y . N e i t h e r are these two a c t s b o l d demonstrations of an i n d i v i d u a l a s s e r t i n g h i s freedom and r e j e c t i o n o f the s o c i a l norm. They are simply e x p r e s s i o n s of Mme de C l e v e s ' s knowledge that she cannot s u r v i v e l n such a s o c i a l environment. Mme de l a F a y e t t e ' s t a c i t a p p r o v a l of Mme de C l e v e s ' s r e s o l u t i o n s Is r e f l e c t e d i n the f i n a l sentence 83 of the novels "Elle passalt une partie de l'annee dans cette maison religieuse et l'autre chez elle; mais dans une retraite et dans les occupations plus saintes que celles des couvents les plus austeres; et sa vie, qui fut assez courte, laissa des exemples de vertu inimitables"(p. 315)• Given the incomparable nature of the heroine's unique views on the society of her time, i t would be Invraisemblable for her to act in any other fashion. A thinking woman (although an aberration at the time) cannot, without the intervention of some drastic mental incapacity, change into a helpless victim of love, the emotion that Mme de Cleves and Mme de l a Fayette understand so well—and fear so rightly. The picture of seventeenth-century society which i s clearly represented in La Prlncesse de Cleves through both Implicit description and explicit statements attests to the author's talent for observation and recreation of what she has seen. Mme de l a Fayette's world--the actual society of the seventeenth century—provides her with the raw materials for an analysis of l i f e within the enclosure of s t r i c t rules which govern almost every aspect of an Individual's existence. According to Peter Brooks, the society of the seventeenth century created an image of i t s e l f , became an "object of conscious cultivation". Mme de l a Fayette's contemporaries lived "a l i f e dedicated to social b l l i t y , to polite social and intellectual intercourse as a total style of existence"(pp. 6-7), but she herself sees through the veneer of a r t i f i c i a l emotions and actions—and this i s what is reflected in Mme de Cleves's attitude toward society and l i f e at the end of the novel. The implicit cultural code which governs the characters' actions in the novel forms the basis 84 for what Brooks calls worldliness. "an ethos and personal manner which indicate that one attaches primary or even exclusive im- portance to ordered social existence, to l i f e within a public system of values and gestures, to the social techniques that further this l i f e and one's position in i t , and hence to knowledge about society and i t s forms of comportment"(p. 4). He regards La Prlncesse de Cleves as "a novel about an h i s t o r i - cal way of courtly, public l i f e , and about what happens to love in this way of l i f e . This prototype of the roman d'analyse i s also insistently about courtliness, or the worldliness of the court"(p. 68). Mme de Cleves's rejection of Nemours i s a re- jection of seventeenth-century "worldliness" and, perhaps, a step toward modern individualism. 85 Footnotes •^Peter Brooks, The Novel of Worldllness (Princetons Princeton University Press, 1969), pp. 4 - 5 . 2 TThis i s described in "Convention and Naturalization" in Structuralist Poetics (Londons Routledge & Kegan-Paul, 1 9 7 5 ) » p. 140. •^Culler, "Convention and Naturalization"; Gerard Genette, "Vralsemblance et motivation" in Figures II (Pariss Editions du Seuil, 1 9 6 9 ) , PP. 7 7 - 9 9 - ^Bernard Pingaud, Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme (Pariss Editions du Seuil, 1 9 5 9 ) , PP. 142-47. M̂adame de l a Fayette, La Prlncesse de Cleves et autres romans (Pariss Gallimard, 1 9 7 2 ) , pp. 2 6 9 - 7 2 . A l l quotations from the text refer to this edition. Page numbers w i l l be indicated in parentheses immediately following the quotation. ^The marriage between the King of Spain and Madame Elizabeth described by the dauphine (pp. I 9 O-9D i s exemplary of this attitude. 7Mlle de Chartres's situation (pp. 143-44, 146-47) i l l u s - trates the importance of both family and royal sanction in matters concerning marriage. Only after the death of M. de Cleves's father i s the union possible, and love i s a consideration only for the prince. Mile de Chartres admits that she would marry him "avec moins de repugnance qu'un autre, mais qu'elle n'avait aucune inclination particuliere pour sa personne"(pp. 148-49). 8 6 8 * The need f o r a good a l i b i i s impressed upon Mme de Cleves by her mother when the princesse does not want to attend M. de Saint-Andre *s b a l l s "Mme de Chartres . . . l u i d i t q u ' i l f a l l a i t done qu'elle f f t l a malade pour avoir un pretexte de n'y pas . a l l e r , parce que les raisons qui l'en empechaient ne seraient pas approuvees et q u ' i l f a l l a i t meme empecher qu'on ne l e s soupconnat"(p. 166). o The description of the various members of the court (pp. 131-32) contains many statements about what i s expected of men i n t h i s society i n terms of actions, r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , and physical t r a i t s . *^Some of the female r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s are l a i d out by Mme de Chartres (pp. 137, 151» 152) while educating her daughter. Others are i n t e l l i g i b l e through the actions of the various characters and through the Implicit value judgements presented by the author. ^The dauphine, while talking to Mme de Cleves about Nemours's l e t t e r , makes i t clear that honesty has no place i n the i n s t i - t u t i on of marriages ". . . i l n'y a que vous de femme au monde qui fasse confidence a son mari de toutes l e s choses qu'elle s a l t " ( p . 233). 12 "La confiance et l a s i n c e r i t e que vous avez pour moi sont d'un prix l n f i n l s vous m'estimez assez pour c r o i r e que je n'abu- sera i pas de cet aveu. Vous avez raison, Madame, je n'en abuser- a i pas et je ne vous en aimerai pas moins"(pp. 241-42). 87 13 » There i s one statement made by Mme de Cleves from which a maxim may be inferred* "Puisque vous voulez que je vous parle . . . je le feral avec une sincerite que vous trouverez malaise- ment dans les personnages de mon sexe"(p. 301). This i s not so much a general statement about the nature of women as i t i s a particular reference to Mme de Cleves herself, a justification for the non-conformist tactics of the declaration of love for Nemours which follows. 14 Nemours encourages this opinion with a maxim relating to the understandable curiosity and jealousy which a husband might feel in a similar situation. This maxim w i l l be discussed later since i t more appropriately belongs to our part dealing with the manipulation of other characters. M̂me de l a Payette says that the meeting in the vidame's appartments i s the f i r s t time that the two find themselves "seuls et en etat de parler"(p. 300), but this episode i s really the f i r s t . It establishes a rationale for Mme de Cleves*s sub- sequent refusals to be alone with Nemours since she understands only too well the meaning and intent of his words. "^Pingaud gives a brief sketch of the c r i t i c a l responses to the novel in Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme, pp. 142 -47 , and Genette touches upon the subject in "Vralsemblance et motivation" pp. 71-78. 17 This has been discussed by Genette, p. 75» 18 This i s given as an epigram to Bernard Pingaud's preface to the Gallimard (Folio) edition used as primary reference. 88 L i s t of Works Cited Brooks, Peter. The Novel of Worldliness. Princetons Princeton University Press, 1969. C u l l e r , Jonathan. S t r u c t u r a l i s t Poetics. Londons Routledge & Kegan-Paul, 1975. l a Payette, Madame de. La Princesse de Cleves et autres romans. Pariss Gallimard, 1972. Genette, Gerard. Figures I I . Pariss Editions du S e u i l , 1969. Pingaud, Bernard. Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme. Pariss Editions du S e u l i , 1959*

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