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The cultural code in La princesse de Cleves Davis, Lenore Jane 1978

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THE CULTURAL CODE IN LA PRINGESSE DE CLEVES by  ;  LENORE JANE DAVIS B.A., University of B r i t i s h 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 t h i s 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  presenting  this  an a d v a n c e d  degree  the  shall  I  Library  f u r t h e r agree  for  scholarly  by h i s of  thesis at  the U n i v e r s i t y  make  that  it  written  thesis  purposes  for  freely  permission may  representatives.  this  in p a r t i a l  financial  is  The U n i v e r s i t y  of  British  2075 Wesbrook P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1W5  OCTOBER 10, 1978  by  for  gain  Columbia  shall  the  requirements  Columbia,  I  agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying  of  this  that  not  copying  or  for  that  study. thesis  t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t  understood  FRENCH  of  British  for extensive  permission.  Department  of  available  be g r a n t e d  It  fulfilment of  or  publication  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  my  ii This study of Madame de l a Payette's La Prlncesse de Cleves proceeds from a general overview of the c u l t u r a l and s o c i a l mores presented i n the novel to examine the  stylistic  components upon which i t i s s t r u c t u r e d — t h e maxim or generalizing statement.  It brings into play the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  the author and her audience, the questions of c u l t u r a l and creat i v e v e r i s i m i l i t u d e , and the seventeenth and twentieth-century c r i t i c a l reactions to the novel. Through close textual analysis, a d e f i n i t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code, i t s content and i t s manifestation i n the novel, i s revealed. The code's foundation on public opinion and s o c i a l practice i s demonstrated i n the numerous maxims and generalizing  statements  which support or contradict s p e c i f i c actions i n the novel. The question of conformity or non-conformity to the code as i l l u s t r a t e d by actions leads into a discussion of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e i n the novel as a whole.  The seventeenth century's insistence  upon c u l t u r a l vralsemblance i s contrasted with the twentiethcentury concepts of n a t u r a l i z a t i o n and creative vralsemblance. While t h i s study finds that f o r the twentieth-century reader there may be some lapses of understanding with regard to small d e t a i l s of l i f e i n the society which Is described i n the novel, i t nonetheless shows that La Prlncesse de Gleves observes the prescriptions of i t s genre, the conventions of vraisemblance they apply to the novel, and that Mme  de l a Fayette warrants  consideration f o r her avant garde approach to recording the e f f e c t s of the s o c i a l attitudes of her time.  as  Contents  Introduction  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 Restrictions, Stereotypes,  Manipulation  C o n f l i c t s , and R e s o l u t i o n s Laws, a n d  Suggestions  22 35 k6  R e a c t i o n s , Defence, and S t r a t e g y  59  Conclusion  74  Footnotes  86  List  89  o f Works C i t e d  I wish to thank Dr. H. C. Knutson f o r h i s advice and encouragement, my parents f o r t h e i r support, and J . A. Shaw f o r my freedom.  Introduction The existence of a s o c i a l u n i t — b e  i t a family, a t r i b e ,  or a n a t i o n — d i c t a t e s the existence of a set of rules which govern the a c t i v i t y within the group, determining who may j o i n , what members may and may not do, and what punishments w i l l be handed out to transgressors against the r u l e s .  These rules  form a code of conduct which we c a l l the " c u l t u r a l code".  The  c u l t u r a l code i s defined by the society to which i t r e f e r s , and f o r t h i s reason i t i s constantly changing to agree with modd f i c a t i o n s i n the society which inspired I t ; but at any given moment i n h i s t o r y , the prescriptions of a c u l t u r a l code appear inalterable and i n f l e x i b l e , 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 i n 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 s e l f conscious  *being together' of an e l i t e " .  These two aspects are  v i r t u a l l y one f o r the novelists whose work i s inspired by t h i s s o c i a l m i l i e u , since they do not consider that there Is any group outside the e l i t e which i s worthy of thought or mention. In the seventeenth century, i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable that societe i s more than a simple means of establishing s o c i a l order under the rules of a c u l t u r a l code.  The concept of society i s  "an object of conscious c u l t i v a t i o n " f o r the members of the e l i t e whose world revolves around observing appropriate blenseances and decorum and whose l i t e r a t u r e i s oriented toward protecting and increasing the importance of t h e i r c u l t u r a l code. La Prlncesse de Gleves i s a product of t h i s 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  seventeenth century but  i t i s by no means a p o s i t i v e  to the g r e a t n e s s o f the  s o c i e t y which i n s p i r e d  Mme  de  which  l a Payette presents a d e s c r i p t i o n i n c l u d e s an a c c o u n t  effects live  of t h i s  in it.  s o c i e t y and  The  the c u l t u r a l  of i t s c u l t u r a l  most c a s e s are  statements  Implicit  terms,  de  cultural  t h e same a s  of a p a r t i c u l a r the  be p r e s e n t e d a s  t o be  intelligible  probable) world.  in explicit The  both  the  for this  a g r e a t d e a l upon h e r r e a d e r ' s  implicit  description  e v e r y n o v e l p r e s e n t s an  society,  'literary' life  the  of  the  world  in a literary  possible  (not  call  as  the  i n a n o v e l and  Where L a P r l n c e s s e de  into consideration  Whatever  necessarily  occurrences i s d e s c r i b e d i n the  of vralsemblance.  the  s e t t i n g must, i n o r d e r  i n t h e r e a l m o f what t h i s r e a d e r v i e w s  we  of  i s very strong.  T h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between e v e n t s  concerned,  historical  interdependence  t o t h e r e a d e r , be  corresponding r e a l - l i f e concept  the  in  code i s u n d e r s t o o d .  ' r e a l ' w o r l d and may  the  o f the c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e  that which governs  l a Payette can r e l y  of  At  i n number.  the seventeenth-century reader's l i v e s ;  I n so f a r a s a l m o s t record  who  ln society  words o f h e r c h a r a c t e r s .  the l i v e s  contribution to insure that  shows t h e  on t h e p e o p l e  l a Payette r e v e a l s r u l e s of conduct  i s essentially  r e a s o n Mme  she  o f what i s a p p r o p r i a t e c o n d u c t  code which governs  a u t h o r ' s and  and  milieu  o f t h e a t t i t u d e s and  b u t t h e s e maxims a r e c o m p a r a t i v e l y few  cultural novel  de  code,  novel  t h e members o f t h e c o u r t , and  l n t h e a c t i o n s and  some t i m e s Mme  I n the  t o many o f t h e p r e s c r i p t i o n s  code i n h e r d e s c r i p t i o n s  behaviour which c h a r a c t e r i z e  testimonial  of her s o c i a l  i t s requirements  author r e f e r s  it.  the  two  broad  real their complex  Cleves i s c a t e g o r i e s of  3 vraisemblance—cultural and c r e a t i v e — a g a i n s t which the events of  the novel may be measured.  The c u l t u r a l code which operates  i n the novel i s the same as that which applies to the reader, and most of the characters conduct themselves i n accordance with the code; there i s , therefore, seldom any doubt about c u l t u r a l v e r i s i m i l i t u d e i n the novel's action.  The c u l t u r a l v r a i -  semblance i s only questionable i n two scenes—the confession and the Princesse's declaration of love i n her l a s t  encounter  with Nemours—and while the author's apparent lack of considerat i o n f o r the rules of the c u l t u r a l code i n these Instances formed the basis f o r l i t e r a r y condemnation on the part of her contemporaries, they do I l l u s t r a t e Mme for  critical  de l a Payette's respect  creative vraisemblance i n view of the characters that she  has created. By creative vraisemblance we are r e f e r r i n g to what Jonathan Culler c a l l s "the text or conventions of a genre, a s p e c i f i c a l l y l i t e r a r y and a r t i f i c i a l vraisemblance" which allows an author's s p e c i f i c "imaginative world" to determine  the  v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of the events and actions which take place i n 2 his  works.  Mme  de l a Payette has created a woman who does  not conform to the c u l t u r a l stereotype accepted at the time, and she emphasizes t h i s uniqueness i n her commentaries. Mme  Since  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 character as she has been created. The question of vraisemblance—the b e l i e v a b i l i t y of the events of a novel i n r e l a t i o n to what the reader views as the r e a l i t y of h i s own l i f e — i s a f e r t i l e modern studies of the novel.  area of c r i t i c i s m i n  Jonathan Culler and Gerard Genette  4  have "both recently produced studies of the l i t e r a r y 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 r e f e r to  the use of the maxim or generalizing statement as an e f f e c t i v e , 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 r e a l , 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 f o r a lack of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e .  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) i n La Prlncesse de Cleves and c r i t i c i z e s Pingaud f o r h i s contention that maxims abound i n the novel. We s h a l l t r y to show i n the following pages that Pingaud i s closer to the mark; indeed, our study takes the maxim or generalizing statements as the basic structure upon which Mme  de l a Fay-  ette's l i t e r a r y world i s constructed, and through which the c u l t u r a l code of t h i s world i s defined.  The vralsemblance of  the novel can only be determined i n r e l a t i o n to the novel's s p e c i f i c world. of  To t h i s end, our study w i l l examine the nature  the prescriptions of the c u l t u r a l code, the way i n which  they are presented, and the e f f e c t s of the code upon the characters; we hope thus to determine the extent to which the charact e r s ' actions are believable i n terms of t h e i r part i n the culture and society of the novel. Our f i r s t chapter w i l l discuss the interdependent r e l a t i o n ship between the author and reader where i m p l i c i t presentation of the code i s concerned.  The r e l a t i o n s h i p i s established through  the author's narrative technique which r e l i e s heavily on  5 generalization and a l l u s i o n . contained  Many d e t a i l s of the code are also  i n descriptions containing value judgements which r e l a t e  to the actions and q u a l i t i e s of various characters.  A l l of these  descriptions present a background, a picture of the s o c i a l norm, against which the actions of the principals characters may reflected.  be  Our second chapter w i l l deal with the s o c i a l reper-  cussions of acceptance of the c u l t u r a l code and of r e f u s a l to comply with i t s guidelines.  The characters f i n d that  accepting  the prescriptions of the code r e s u l t s i n i n d i v i d u a l f r u s t r a t i o n s and misunderstandings, but also i n s o c i a l approval; while refusing the guidelines r e s u l t s i n a measure of personal freedom, but also i n s o c i a l disfavorv  Their attempts to manipulate the code  i n the interests of achieving t h e i r personal goals form an i n t e g r a l part of the novel's action and i l l u s t r a t e the control which the c u l t u r a l code exerts on t h e i r l i v e s .  The t h i r d chapter de-  f i n e s the r e s t r i c t i v e nature of the code i t s e l f which i s mirrored i n the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the courtly society.  The d u p l i c i t y which  i s required i n everyday l i f e creates psychological c o n f l i c t s for  the characters who  f i n d themselves unable or powerless to  cope with the e s s e n t i a l and constant and  opposition between r e a l i t y  artificiality. Our fourth chapter discusses e x p l i c i t statements which,  for  the most part, support the information about the c u l t u r a l  code that Is presented i m p l i c i t l y i n the author's descriptions. These statements by both the author and the characters  contain  both openly stated and inferred maxims regarding c u l t u r a l and r o l e stereotypes, generally accepted truths about r u l e s of conduct and human nature, and suggestions of generally accepted truths which may  be inferred from actions which do not  exemplify  6  the c u l t u r a l norm.  The f i f t h chapter deals with maxims r e l a t i n g  to l i f e i n the seventeenth-century  society which are presented  by the characters and which contain an element of underlying strategy.  These maxims are stated either i n reaction to c i r -  cumstances dictated by the c u l t u r a l code, i n defense of an i n dividual's actions, or i n an attempt to have another modify h i s behaviour.  character  These strategies are a l l e s s e n t i a l l y  dictated by the r e s t r i c t i v e nature of the c u l t u r a l code. Our concluding chapter deals mainly with the question of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e as i t relates to the c u l t u r a l code presented i n the novel.  A b r i e f sketch of the seventeenth-century  critical  reaction to La Prlncesse de Gleves leads into a discussion of the modern approach to vra1semblance which deals less with h i s t o r i c a l and c u l t u r a l considerations than with those dictated by the novel as a creative e n t i t y .  The c u l t u r a l code i n the  world of the novel contains more than just the general guidel i n e s of appropriate conduct which should apply to a l l characters as members of a society. of  I t must also consider the psychology  i n d i v i d u a l characters i n deciding what actions are appropriate  to them i n c e r t a i n circumstances.  I t i s our intent to show,  through a close analysis of the text i t s e l f from a s t r u c t u r a l , though not processional, point of view, that the c u l t u r a l code which i s presented i n a given novel, and which governs the actions of the characters, i s the sole determining factor of the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of the events l n such a novel, and that t h i s code i s independent, i n the f i n a l analysis, of any corresponding real-life  code of conduct.  7 Background, P a r t i c i p a t i o n , and Judgements Mme of  de l a F a y e t t e ' s n o v e l r e v e a l s the s t r u c t u r e and workings  her s o c i e t y .  Her d e s c r i p t i o n s of the people a t the c o u r t —  t h e i r emotions, to  a c t i o n s , and p h y s i c a l m a k e - u p — c o n t a i n a l l u s i o n s  an accepted c u l t u r a l code which governs t h e i r l i v e s .  P r l h c e s s e de Gleves p r e s e n t s a g e n e r a l overview of the 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 r e a d e r ' s i n i t i a l of  the h e r o i n e ' s dilemma.  La social  comprehension  But there i s a deeper dimension t o the  n o v e l which becomes e v i d e n t as one pays c l o s e r a t t e n t i o n to the author's s t y l e .  Through g e n e r a l i z a t i o n and vagueness i n d e s c r i p -  t i o n the author c a l l s upon the reader f o r 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 t o be discovered.  Mme  de l a F a y e t t e ' s d e s c r i p t i o n s a l s o c o n t a i n value  judgements which i n t u r n f u r n i s h d e t a i l s of the  qualities—both  d e s i r a b l e and u n d e s i r a b l e — t h a t are found i n the people who up t h i s s o c i e t y . the reader who  may  make  Through an examination of these d e s c r i p t i o n s be u n f a m i l i a r w i t h the  seventeenth-century  s o c i e t y can put together a background a g a i n s t which the a c t i o n s of  the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s may  f o r m i t y or nonconformity  be r e f l e c t e d to show t h e i r  con-  to the p r e s c r i b e d s o c i a l norms.  The a c t i o n of La P r i n c e s s e de Cleves f u r n i s h e s , i n g e n e r a l terms, u s e f u l background i n f o r m a t i o n about the social structure.  The c o u r t i t s e l f  tution i n this society.  seventeenth-century  i s the most important  insti-  I t i s the c e n t r e 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 r o y a l f a m i l y i s a t i t s hub.  It is a  c l o s e d c i r c l e where o n l y those deemed to be of a c e r t a i n m e r i t may  enter, and o n l y upon i n v i t a t i o n .  c o u r t i s to l i v e a comfortable l i f e ;  To be favoured a t the to f a l l from f a v o u r , whether  through unfortunate f a m i l y c o n t a c t s , a p e r s o n a l misdeed, or a  8 change i n royal personnel, can r e s u l t i n banishment from the court, as i l l u s t r a t e d i n the description of the events following the King's death.^  A great deal of an individual's s o c i a l  standing and power i s defined by his r e l a t i o n s h i p with a member of the royal family.  Just as being a counsellor, f r i e n d , or  messenger of the King has i t s benefits, so those who are favoured by membership i n the Queen's c i r c l e or that of the King's s i s t e r enjoy the pleasures of a c e r t a i n s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n , however temporary and unstable the s i t u a t i o n may be.  P o l i t i c a l intrigue  (both domestic and International) forms an i n t e g r a l part of courtly l i f e .  Relationships  between the various heads of state  are common knowledge and marriage between the royal f a m i l i e s , while being perhaps a private scandal l n terms of the society's concept of the participants* r e l a t i v e worths, i s recognized to be an assurance of good international r e l a t i o n s 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 i s both a s o c i a l and a p o l i t i c a l I n s t i t u t i o n , and depends more upon what external benefits may be gained from a p a r t i c u l a r union than on the i n t e r n a l feelings between the two people Involved.  S o c i a l rank,  family connections, and royal sanction combine to eliminate  love  7  as a c r i t e r i o n or even a consideration  i n marriage.  Although  love may not figure i n the matrimonial scene, i t nevertheless exists i n the society i n the guise of galanterle. where i t assumes a double aspect.  I t i s permitted, or rather tolerated, that a  woman may have a lover, as long as the a f f a i r i s discreet and compromises no one.  Men, on the other hand, may discuss t h e i r  amorous endeavors and are admired for the wide scope of t h e i r adventures.  Love l n i t s e l f i s recognized by a l l to be a powerful  9  and unpredictable emotion which i s a d r i v i n g force at the centre of the society's a c t i v i t y . Everyday s o c i a l practices at the court are well-defined and members of t h i s society are expected to observe them.  The  day i s categorized i n terms of a c t i v i t i e s which take place during a specified time period.  There i s a set hour at which  one i s expected to be prepared to r e c e i v e " v i s i t s from one's friends; there i s a specified time during which one i s expected to make an appearance at the court; there are appropriate hours set aside for personal n e c e s s i t i e s — d i n i n g , sleeping, w r i t i n g — and f o r public functions—banquets, F a i l u r e to appear at an appointed  b a l l s , sporting events. time or being unprepared or  i l l - d i s p o s e d to receive v i s i t o r s i s a subject of public specul a t i o n and necessitates an i n f a l l i b l e excuse (sickness, duties Q  elsewhere:) i f s o c i a l decorum i s to be observed.  Residence near  the s i t e of the court i s required due to the nature of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the King and his counsellors and tives.  Almost a l l of these men  they and t h e i r wives may  representa-  have land i n the country where  sojourn f o r a l i m i t e d time.  To be away  from the court f o r 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  s i s t e r ' s marriage require everyone's attention and p a r t i c i p a t i o n especially i f international r e l a t i o n s are Involved, since t h i s allows the King to show o f f h i s fine taste and judgement i n people. As for the expectations, r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , and conduct of i n d i v i d u a l s , these are no l e s s r i g i d l y defined than are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and practices.  Men  are  expected to be duty-bound to the wishes and commands of t h e i r  10  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 f o r t h e i r s k i l l s and as a method of gaining the admiration of t h e i r women. Men are encouraged to be ambitious i n 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) f o r these are the animating forces of century society.^  seventeenth-  The woman's r o l e i s equally c l e a r l y defined.  To marry well i s her main concern, and once married, to show respect, admiration, and devotion to her husband i s her duty. She i s expected to d i s t i n g u i s h herself through attention to her physical attractiveness, through her knowledge of the arts, and through her virtuous and s o c i a l l y appropriate behavior. Her public role includes attending and hosting s o c i a l meetings (salons) and appearing at the court l n such a manner as to bring added admiration to her husband.*^ It i s quite proper f o r 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 , i n theory, a praiseworthy aspect of most r e l a t i o n s h i p s , in practice there i s l i t t l e evidence that honesty i s at a l l ll come or valued i n love a f f a i r s or marriage.  Wei-  The rules of appro  priate conduct which apply to a l l members of the society leave l i t t l e room f o r personal interpretation. of for  The acceptable length  time f o r a period of mourning, the amount of secrecy permitted an individual's private a f 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 s o c i a l pressure and t r a d i t i o n .  Any  11  d e v i a t i o n from the norm i s i n s t a n t l y s u b j e c t to p u b l i c  scrutiny  and must be w e l l e x p l a i n e d i f the i n d i v i d u a l i s t o 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 g e n e r a l r u l e s of conduct s o c i e t y may  i n seventeenth-century  be d i s c e r n e d from the a c t i o n of the n o v e l , s p e c i f i c  a c t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s are harder f o r the t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y reader to make out.  Mme  de l a Payette r e l i e s h e a v i l y on her  century reader's experience and knowledge to f i l l  seventeenth-  i n the gaps  l e f t by her use of vague and imprecise vocabulary i n her d e s c r i p t i o n s of the c o u r t , i t s members, and s o c i a l p r a c t i c e s . Pingaud,  i n Mme  Bernard  de l a Fayette par elle-meme. p r e s e n t s a r e p r e -  s e n t a t i v e l i s t of nouns, a d j e c t i v e s , and verbs which are taken from the d e s c r i p t i v e passage w i t h which the n o v e l opens, t h a t of  the c o u r t of H e n r i I I (Pingaud, p. 1 3 9 ) - He p o i n t s out the  author's use of i n d i r e c t d i s c o u r s e to achieve a d i s t a n c i n g  effect,  and suggests that her emphasis on a b s t r a c t i o n s - e l i m i n a t e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of a c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n between the r e a d e r and text—two  a t t r i b u t e s which are important to the a p p r e c i a t i o n of  the roman d'analyse. dimension  the  We  f i n d , however, that there i s another  to the author's use of imprecise v o c a b u l a r y , one  which  r e l a t e s to our d i s c u s s i o n of an i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code. When d e s c r i b i n g i n d i v i d u a l s a t the c o u r t , Mme speaks  i n abstractions.  Her  s u b j e c t s possess de bonnes q u a l i t e s ;  they enjoy l e s b e l l e s choses; they are b i e n f a i t ; a  H  d'honnetes gens.  de l a F a y e t t e  and they are  There i s much mention of mental  attributes  which are d e s c r i b e d i n terms of amplitude but which remain, theless, imprecise: une ame  none-  ". . . i l a v a i t un e s p r i t v a s t e et profond,  noble e t elevee . . ."(p. 1 3 1 ) • The r e p e t i t i o n of and  emphasis p l a c e d upon the concept of q u a l i t e cannot be i g n o r e d ,  12  and yet i t i s defined exclusively i n terms of physical a t t r a c t i v e ness, mental prowess, and s o c i a l graces and Insight:  "Le vidame  de Chartres . . . 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 ; 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 l e s dispositions pour l a galanterie et toutes l e s qualites qui sont propres a. y dormer des succes heureux'" (pp.  3 0 6 - 0 7 ) .  A l l of the characters of quality".  i n La Prlncesse  de Gleves are "people  They are educated, s o c i a l l y aware a r i s t o c r a t s (or  servants of such people) who i n s t i n c t i v e l y understand the unwritten code of appropriate  s o c i a l conduct and who recognize  instantly the physical and mental elements which constitute "quality".  Their s o c i a l environment i s r i g i d l y structured, a  close c i r c l e where, as Pingaud states, " l e ceremonial de l a passion peut se derouler dans toute sa rigueur" (p. of passion,  1*14).  The concept  i t s causes and e f f e c t s , i s well comprehended by most  of these characters,  and the practice of galanterie i s accepted  as an i n t e g r a l part of t h e i r l i v e s — s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l ; vate and publics  pri-  "L'ambition et l a galanterie etaient l'ame de  cette cour, et occupaient egalement les hommes et l e s femmes. II y avait tant d'lnterets et tant de cabales d i f f e r e n t e s , et l e s dames y avaient  tant de part que 1*amour e t a i t  toujours  mele aux a f f a i r e s et l e s a f f a i r e s a. 1'amour" (p. 1 ^ 2 ) . The  seventeenth-century reader, too, was a ^person of q u a l i t y  since only the p r i v i l e g e d aristocracy had the time f o r and the i n c l i n a t i o n towards education.  Given, then, the close resem-  blance i n physical, mental, and s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s between the reader and the people about whom he i s reading, i t i s not  1  13 a t a l l s u r p r i s i n g t h a t Mme de l a Payette should n e g l e c t t o d e f i n e the a c t i o n s and a t t r i b u t e s which make up un honnete homme de bonne q u a l i t e .  The reader i s asked t o draw upon h i s own know-  ledge o f a r i s t o c r a t i c  society to furnish descriptive  details.  When he reads t h a t M. de Nemours i s un chef d'oeuvre de l a nature, he has o n l y t o b r i n g together a l l the p l e a s i n g t r a i t s of the gentlemen i n h i s s o c i a l c i r c l e t o c r e a t e h i s own composite of p h y s i c a l a t t r a c t i v e n e s s .  And when a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l  i s a l l u d e d t o , the reader merely  ideal conduct  c o n s u l t s h i s p e r s o n a l experience  i n a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n and s u p p l i e s the m i s s i n g words, a c t i o n s , and r e a c t i o n s . D e s c r i p t i o n s o f c h a r a c t e r s * p h y s i c a l t r a i t s and a c t i o n s are not the only a r e a i n which the author r e q u i r e s the complaisance and p a r t i c i p a t i o n o f the reader t o f i l l  i ndetails.  Mme  de l a F a y e t t e a l s o a l l u d e s t o v a r i o u s ceremonials and p r a c t i c e s i n the s o c i e t y a t the c o u r t without g i v i n g p a r t i c u l a r s about or r a t i o n a l e s f o r them.  When the author s t a t e s t h a t Anne de Boulen  " a v a i t l e s manieres de Prance q u i p l a i s e n t a t o u t e s l e s n a t i o n s " (p.  199), she assumes t h a t the reader i s f a m i l i a r enough w i t h  these manieres t h a t f u r t h e r c l a r i f i c a t i o n reader would understand,  i s unnecessary.  The  through h i s own experience, the v a r i o u s  honneurs, agrements. and ceremonies which g r e e t p r i v i l e g e d  visi-  t o r s t o the c o u r t , while h i s concept o f the a p p r o p r i a t e c l v l l i t e s and h i s knowledge of the code o f blenseance as p r a c t i s e d i n h i s own  s o c i a l environment would supply him with a p e r f e c t  picture  of what e x a c t l y a c e r t a i n person would do i n a p a r t i c u l a r tion.  situa-  When Mme de l a Payette says t h a t M i l e de C h a r t r e s , a f t e r  being caught  o f f guard by an approving glance from M. de C l e v e s ,  manages t o r e c o v e r "sans temoigner  d*autre a t t e n t i o n aux a c t i o n s  14 de ce prince que c e l l e que l a c i v i l i t e l u i devait donner pour un homme t e l q u ' i l 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  a l l u s i o n s over concrete description and statement i s indicative of a certain c u l t u r a l bond between author and public i n that they possess similar moral viewpoints and s o c i a l understanding.  The  author uses other techniques which assume that t h i s bond extends to  include s o c i a l 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 f a i r e  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 h i s own experience.  The same detach-  ment of which Pingaud speaks (p. 1 3 9 ) exists here i n that a p a r t i c ular emotion i s reduced to the l e v e l of a common or generally appreciated response. importantly, Mme  But more s p e c i f i c a l l y or, perhaps, more  de l a Fayette i s trying, through her emphasis  on reader p a r t i c i p a t i o n , to eliminate the p o s s i b i l i t y 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 manipul a t i o n , Mme Mme  de l a Fayette writes:  "L'on peut juger ce que sentit  de Chartres par l a rupture d'une chose qu'elle avait tant  desiree, dont l e mauvais succes donnait un s i grand avantage a ses  ennemis et f a i s a i t un s i grand t o r t 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 f o r Nemours, the author describes Mme Cleves's reactions  de  "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 ' i n t e r e t 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 i n a similar manner and that the reader, who would l o g i c a l l y 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.  I t i s applied at l i b e r t y to l a  polltesse , l e s b e l l e s choses, l e s honnetes g^ens, l e s agrements. l e s sentiments, l e s bonnes qualltes, l e s bienseances. l a magnificence , and l e s ceremonies.  I t i s ah all-encompassing expression  of generality used to convey an idea of extreme magnitude and to avoid long and tedious detailed descriptions, f o r , a f t e r a l l , her reader would understand and supply a l l the d e t a i l s anyway. But where emotions such as joy and jealousy are concerned, t h i s adjective i s used to ensure that the p a r t i c u l a r i s interpreted as the commonplace.  For example, Nemours, when Informed by the  King that he i s to court the Queen of England, receives the news "avec toute l a joie que peut avoir un jeune homme ambitieux qui se v o l t porte au tr6ne par sa seule reputation"(p.  152).  The author here assumes that the reader i s able to gauge the magnitude of t h i s emotion and to picture the physical and mental responses that would characterize i t based on h i s concept of how such an honour would be received by a p o l i t i c a l l y and s o c i a l l y ambitious man.  Not only i s the reader f a m i l i a r with the  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and o f f s h o o t s of ambition as i t appears social milieu.  He  in his  i s a l s o experienced i n the r e p e r c u s s i o n s and  a s s o c i a t e d s t a t e s of mind which accompany the other d r i v i n g f o r c e i n the seventeenth  century, l o v e .  When Mme  de Gleves  reads  the l e t t e r s a i d to be from another l a d y t o Nemours, she  falls  prey to j e a l o u s y f o r the f i r s t time  ". . . ce  mal,  i n her young l i f e :  qu'elle trouvait s i insupportable, e t a i t l a jalousie  avec  t o u t e s l e s h o r r e u r s dont e l l e peut e t r e accompagnee"(p. 2 1 3 ) . Mme  de Cleves does not r e c o g n i z e t h i s emotion h e r s e l f , but  Mme  de l a Payette does, and knows t h a t her r e a d e r , too, i s f a m i l i a r w i t h a l l the h o r r e u r s i n h e r e n t t h e r e i n . Mme  de l a Payette's d e s c r i p t i o n s of s o c i a l decorum as w e l l  as the p h y s i c a l , mental,  and emotional make-up of her  seventeenth-  c e n t u r y s u b j e c t s provide a wide margin f o r p e r s o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n through t h e i r vagueness and g e n e r a l i t y .  But, a t the same time,  they present a f a i r l y d e t a i l e d p i c t u r e of what i s accepted expected from the s o c i e t y of the time.  and  In many cases, p h y s i c a l  d e t a i l s of d e s c r i p t i o n are l a c k i n g while value judgements abound, a f a c t not s u r p r i s i n g c o n s i d e r i n g t h a t the g u i d e l i n e s of a c c e p t a b l e behavior are c l e a r l y d e l i n e a t e d and understood and author.  These valuesjudgements  c a t e g o r i e s of d e s c r i p t i o n s s a t t r i b u t e s , and  p h y s i c a l beauty, mental and  i s concerned,  c i s e a d j e c t i v e s p a r f a i t and M e n i s d e s c r i b e d as "une . . . elle  are found i n three major social  action.  Where p h y s i c a l beauty  corps  by both r e a d e r  v a r i a n t s of the  f i g u r e prominently.  personne p a r f a i t e pour l ' e s p r i t  impre-  Mary S t u a r t et pour l e  . . . a v a i t p r i s t o u t e s l a p o l i t e s s e , et e l l e  e t a i t nee avec t a n t de d i s p o s i t i o n s pour t o u t e s l e s b e l l e s que, malgre sa grande jeunesse, e l l e l e s a i m a i t et s'y  choses  17  1 3 0 ) ; and M i l e de C h a r t r e s  c o n n a i s s a i t mieux que personne"(p. as "une  beaute  . . . q u i a t t i r a l e s yeux de t o u t l e monde, et  l ' o n d o i t c r o i r e que c ' e t a i t une  beaute  parfaite,  donna de 1 ' a d m i r a t i o n dans un l i e u ou l ' o n e t a i t a v o i r de b e l l e s personnes"(p.  puisqu'elle s i accoutume  1 3 6 ) . The value of p e r f e c t  c a l beauty cannot be underestimated  physi-  i n a s o c i e t y where l o v e and  amorous i n t r i g u e s 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 first  impressions and outward appearances  f o r i n i t i a t i n g these a c t i v i t i e s . both from h i s own  c o n s t i t u t e the b a s i s  I t i s obvious t o the r e a d e r  experience and from the s t y l e of these  pas-  sages t h a t a woman's v a l u e i s measured, a t l e a s t i n p a r t , i n terms of her p h y s i c a l countenance.  Where men  however, there seems to be some ambiguity.  are  concerned,  The vidame de  C h a r t r e s i s d e s c r i b e d a p p r o v i n g l y as a s t r i k i n g l y handsome  man,  y e t Nemours i s a t the same time h e r a l d e d as a masterpiece of n a t u r e ' s handiwork and "condemned" f o r being the most handsome man  i n the world:  "Le vidame de C h a r t r e s . . . e t a i t  d i s t i n g u e dans l a guerre e t dans l a g a l a n t e r i e . de bonne mine, v a i l l a n t , h a r d i , l i b e r a l  egalement  II etait  beau,  . . . enfin i l etait  s e u l digne d ' e t r e compare au due de Nemours, s i quelqu'un l u i eilt pu e t r e comparable.  Mais ce p r i n c e e t a i t un  chef-d'oeuvre  de l a nature; ce q u ' i l a v a i t de moins admirable, c ' e t a i t d ' e t r e l'homme du monde l e mieux f a i t e t l e p l u s beau"(p. 1 3 2 ) . I t would appear  t h a t , f o r a man,  some measure of value may  through p h y s i c a l a t t r a c t i v e n e s s , but d i s t i n c t i o n  be g a i n e d ( i n terms of  a c t i o n ) on the b a t t l e f i e l d or i n the s i t t i n g - r o o m seems t o be a more important  criterion.  Where mental and s o c i a l awareness are concerned, measured i n terms of w i t , charm, and decorum.  The  value i s  introductory  18 sketch of the court of Henri II (pp.  1 3 0 - 3 2 )  contains descriptions  of men and women who are admired f o r t h e i r bel e s p r i t , for t h e i r appreciation of les "belles choses, and f o r t h e i r knowledge of and f a c i l i t y with l e s manieres.  The concept of e s p r i t , although  imprecisely defined, i s interpreted i n a positive manner by the author since i t appears almost exclusively i n the context of favourable description, and i t i s a major factor i n determining the quality of an i n d i v i d u a l — s o important a consideration, i n f a c t , that during t h i s description the word e s p r i t appears seven times i n two paragraphs.  An appreciation for the  music, painting, l a cornedie—is an equally valued  arts—poetry, distinction  for both men and women, as are eloquence and verbal a l a c r i t y . inbred f a c i l i t y with and acceptance of appropriate  An  s o c i a l 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 e n t a i l s — f u r n i s h e s the basis f o r a positive judgement of both sexes.  There i s , however, one realm of  s o c i a l a c t i v i t y where the value of men and women i s judged on d i f f e r e n t c r i t e r i a , and that i s l a galanterie.  Whereas Mme de  Cleves and women of her rank are valued and respected f o r t h e i r virtue and piety, Nemours and h i s cohorts gain admiration  through  t h e i r amorous intrigues and conquests. We have seen that, where men are concerned, actions i n the areas of war and love constitute a basis for judging t h e i r merit. Physical prowess l n jousts and mock combat i n the form of tournaments serves as another c r i t e r i o n for measuring a man's q u a l i t y as seen i n the opening descriptive sketch of the court and i n the scene of the f e s t i v i t i e s which accompany the King's s i s t e r ' s marriage to the due d'Albe.  S o c i a l actions, too, constitute a  basis  for assessing  Knowing how her  and  t h e measure o f a n  when t o a p p r o a c h a woman so a s  s e n s e o f decorum by  Nemours's t a l e n t s : donner des  ".  marques de  attracting . . i l se  sa passion  public"(p. 1 6 3 ) .  connaltre  au  "conduite  s i sage" and  this  o f a c t i o n when he  his  line  friend,  the  Adroitness rigid  limits  positive  later  que  Mme  de  comits  socially  f o r men,  will she  M.  de  to reduce  Gleves,  r e g r e t the  on  Cleves's  in publicly  l n arranging  the  admired respect  and  and  h i s deathbed, t e l l s respect  j o u r un  vous a i m a i s ,  de  que  l ' h o n n e u r de  statements i l l u s t r a t e of  expected M.  cherchent  innate of  Gleves,  ideal  proud  operates of  that virtue  seduce  when  her:  homme q u i  dans ces  vous  engage-  a i m e e , comme  je de  vous s e d u i r e " ( p . 2 9 1 ) .  a depth of understanding concerned  seventeenth-century  of h i s "passion  the she  g e n s q u i , en v o u s t e m o i g n a n t  r e s p e c t where women a r e  the  sex  a  Vous s e n t i r e z l e  l a d i f f e r e n c e d'etre  sure  one  f o r her  ments, e t vous c o n n a i t r e z  des  maintaining  h i s wife  l e s personnes raisonnables  par  the  avoiding  admiration  c h a g r i n que  l'etre  (p. 2 ^ 5 ) .  I t i s Indeed  i n the  et legitime.  from  behaviour i s a  adeptness  and  this  telling  galanterie within  veritable  These  faire  confession  a i m a i t d'une p a s s i o n  1 ' a m o u r , ne  of  approves of  t h a t a l l Nemours s e e k s i s t o  trouvent  la  i m p r u d e n c e " by  Madame, v o u s r e g r e t t e r e z q u e l q u e  a  de  l a Fayette  acceptable  l o s s o f h i s l o v e and  comes t o r e a l i z e  "Adieu,  hasarder  "une de  while  p a r a d o x t h a t what i s r e s p e c t e d  other.  offend  manquer p l u t o t a. l u i  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.  s u c h a manner a s  to  condemns Nemours f o r d e p a r t i n g  o r r e b u f f i n g amorous a d v a n c e s a n d  in  de  i n m a n a g i n g a f f a i r e s de  of defined  not  p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n i s one  r e s o l u t de  v i d a m e , a b o u t Mme  attribute  clandestine  individual's quality.  that are  gentleman.  veritable"  and  and  a meanot  While  of h i s  respect  20  for  a woman's v i r t u e , cannot survive i n h i s society, Nemours,  who sees a woman's virtue not as a q u a l i t y to be admired and respected but rather as an obstacle to be surmounted i n the purs u i t of personal glory, i s praised and i d o l i z e d by h i s peers. While open demonstrations of t h e i r v i r i l i t y i s admired i n men,  i t i s the opposite of what i s respected i n women.  submission,  Tolerance,  deference, masked e m o t i o n s — s e l f - d e n i a l , i n most  r e s p e c t s — a r e the meritorious c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the "weaker" sex. men  Whether Mme de l a Fayette agrees with the concept that woshould accept, without question, the role defined for them  i n their society i s not c l e a r l y discernable from her text. She does, however, show admiration f o r Henri II's wife who tolerates the existence of the King's mistress without e x h i b i t i n g any outward 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 i n her l i a i s o n with the vidame) and should be viewed as a good example of how a well-bred woman handles an uncomfortable s i t u a t i o n .  The  g i s t of Mme de Chartres's lessons to her daughter i s that Mme de Cleves should respect her husband, be cognizant of her duty toward him, and avoid any action which would prove her unworthy of his respect.  The concept of virtue (self-denial) i s 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 i n a woman. In Mme de l a Fayette's descriptions of the people at the court, t h e i r actions, i n t r i g u e s , and emotions, we can discover many d e t a i l s of l i f e i n the seventeenth-century  society.  Through her a l l u s i v e style, her penchant toward generalization, and her oblique presentation of value judgements, s o c i a l norms  are i m p l i c i t l y defined where i n s t i t u t i o n s , practices, and conduct are concerned.  These norms provide an important background  f o r the action of the novel since the characters' actions may be compared to these norms to show the degree of t h e i r conformity to the c u l t u r a l code.  22 Acceptance, Refusal, and Manipulation The guidelines of the seventeenth-century  c u l t u r a l code  are c l e a r l y defined i n terms of appropriate s o c i a l conduct, but i t s effects upon the people involved are not so e a s i l y discerned since one of the major c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of l i f e i n t h i s society is duplicity.  Acceptance of the c u l t u r a l code i s expected from  a l l those who are members of the court.  Through t h e i r observance  and practice of the rules they gain s o c i a l approval even though inwardly they may experience f r u s t r a t i o n at not being able to do what they want to do or at the misunderstandings that grow out of equivocal communication. contravene  Should a member of t h i s society  the rules of appropriate conduct, the r e s u l t s can be  disastrous, giving way to misinterpretation, rumour, and scandal. The value of personal freedom and contentment must be weighed against the p o s s i b i l i t y of s o c i a l ostracism.  The characters  in La Prlncesse de Gleves are caught up l n t h i s c o n f l i c t .  For  some (the Queen, Mme de Valentinois), the answer l i e s i n adapting t h e i r desires to f i t the constraints of s o c i a l pressure; f o r others (the vidame de Chartres, Nemours, and, l n a rather d i f ferent manner, Mme de Cleves), i t i s found i n gently adapting the rules to f i t t h e i r desires, trying to assert t h e i r personal freedom d i s c r e e t l y while maintaining a veneer of s o c i a l respectability. The constraints of the c u l t u r a l code under which the characters i n the novel l i v e pose few problems f o r those who are passive enough to accept the l i m i t a t i o n s and to adapt to them. Neither are they bothersome for those who are able to judge when the r u l e s may be bent and how f a r t h e i r scheming can go without breaking them.  But for Mme de Gleves, who has been  23  r a i s e d i n a r e l a t i v e l y s h e l t e r e d atmosphere by a mother b e l i e v e d t h a t passiveness and  ignorance  who  of the t r u t h can  triumph  over s o c i a l c o r r u p t i o n , the e x i g e n c i e s of the c u l t u r a l code cause c o n f u s i o n when p r a c t i c e does not conform to t h e o r y . Taught to suppress toward a man, marriage,  and  any h i n t of emotion and  e x p r e s s i o n of  interest  i g n o r a n t of the r o l e of l o v e (passion) i n  M i l e de C h a r t r e s i s i n c a p a b l e of comprehending M.  C l e v e s ' s complaints  r e g a r d i n g her l a c k of p a s s i o n f o r him.  b e l i e v e s t h a t he should be content  de She  t h a t her a c t i o n s conform to  the accepted mode of conduct expected  of a woman of her ranks  M. de Cleves se t r o u v a i t heureux sans e t r e neanmoins entierement content. I I v o y a i t avec beaucoup de peine que l e s sentiments de M i l e de C h a r t r e s ne p a s s a i e n t pas ceux de l ' e s t l m e et de l a reconnaissance et i l ne p o u v a i t se f l a t t e r q u ' e l l e en cachat de p l u s o b l l g e a n t s , puisque l ' e t a t ou l i s e t a i e n t l u i p e r m e t t a i t de l e s f a i r e p a r a l t r e sans choquer son extreme modestie. I I ne se p a s s a i t guere de jours q u ' i l ne l u i en f i t ses p l a i n t e s . . . . — I I y a de 1 ' i n j u s t i c e a vous p l a i n d r e , l u i r e p o n d i t e l l e ; je ne s a i s ce que vous pouvez s o u h a i t e r a u - d e l a de ce que je f a i s , et i l me semble que l a bienseance ne permet pas que -j'en f a s s e davantage. — I I e s t v r a l , l u i r e p l i q u a - t - i l , que vous me donnez de c e r t a i n s apparences dont je s e r a i s content s ' i l y a v a i t quelque chose au-dela; mais, au l i e u que l a b i e n seance vous r e t i e n n e , c ' e s t e l l e seule q u i vous f a i t f a i r e ce que vous f a i t e s . Je ne touche n i v o t r e i n c l i n a t i o n , n i v o t r e coeur, et ma presence ne vous donne n l de p l a l s i r , n i de t r o u b l e , (pp. 1^9-50) As a wife she  shows r e s p e c t , a sense of duty, and g r a t i t u d e  toward M. de C l e v e s , a c c o r d i n g him a l l the p r i v i l e g e s of a husband while  i n v e s t i n g none of the emotions of a l o v e r .  The appearance of Nemours c r e a t e s new  problems f o r the  v i r t u o u s p r l n c e s s e s i n c e t h i s man  awakens i n her f e e l i n g s of  p a s s i o n f o r b i d d e n by her mother.  Mme  de Cleves f i n d s h e r s e l f  t o r n between her s o c i a l d u t i e s , which n e c e s s i t a t e c o n t a c t Nemours, and her d e s i r e to a v o i d temptation, p l i s h e d only by a v o i d i n g him:  " C e t a i t une  with  which can be accomentreprise d i f f i c i l e ,  24 dont e l l e  connaissait deja l e s peines;  moyen d'y  reusslr  She in  recognizes  etait  elle  s a v a i t que  d ' e v i t e r l a p r e s e n c e de  t h e d a n g e r i n v o l v e d i n an  illicit  t e r m s o f a t h r e a t t o h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h M.  r a t h e r on  the  e v o k e s i n Mme to her,  and  b a s i s of her de  an  Cleves  affair  honesty which, while galanterie,  go  fear.  Except  a g a i n s t Mme  Cleves  of  i n f o r m a t i o n o r an  with  de  Cleves  Nemours, h e r  social  liaison, de  not  Cleves,  emotions t h a t are  but  be  an  i n t e g r a l p a r t of the  de  Chartres's  the r e s u l t  are  unknown  n e c e s s i t a t e s s c h e m i n g and  of  less  than  dis-  p r a c t i c e of .  teachings. of a l a c k  of  s o c i a l pressure  c o n f e s s i o n , the c o n v e r s a t i o n s  h i s wife  first  and  c o n f u s i o n a l s o grow o u t  f o r the  de  Mme  and  sensations  being  communication which can  prince"(p. 1 9 * 0 •  psychological well-being—Nemours  w i t h him  F r u s t r a t i o n s and  ce  le seul  fruitful  e x p l a n a t i o n of behavior shows s i g n s o f d i s c o m f o r t  or  of  between  M.  where a n  exchange  i s concerned. at being  husband asks f o r j u s t i f i c a t i o n  When  left  for this  alone  anti-  behavior:  I I l u i en p a r l a , e t 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 b i e n s e a n c e v o u l u t q u ' e l l e f u t t o u s l e s s o i r s a v e c ce q u ' i l y a v a i t de p l u s j e u n e a l a o o u r ; 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 a c c o u t u m e ; que l a v e r t u e t l a p r e s e n c e de s a mere a u t o r i s a i t b e a u c o u p de c h o s e s qu'une femme de son^age ne p o u v a i t 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 b e a u c o u p de d o u c e u r e t de c o m p l a i s a n c e p o u r s a femme, n'en e u t 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 p a s a b s o l u e ment q u ' e l l e c h a n g e a t de c o n d u i t e . (p. 195) And wife  l a t e r when M.  de  Cleves  wants an  prefers to hide  i n the  country  c o u r t , he  i s greeted  with  hollow  and  e x p l a n a t i o n as r a t h e r than evasive  t o why  r e t u r n to  his the  answers:  — M a i s p o u r q u o i ne v o u l e z - v o u s p o i n t r e v e n i r a P a r i s ? Q u i v o u s p e u t r e t e n i r a l a campagne? Vous a v e z d e p u i s q u e l q u e temps un g o u t p o u r l a s o l i t u d e q u i m'etonne e t q u i m ' a f f l i g e parce q u ' i l nous separe. Je vous t r o u v e meme p l u s t r l s t e que de coutume e t j e c r a l n s que v o u s  25 n'ayez quelque sujet d ' a f f l i c t i o n . — J e n'ai r i e n de facheux dans l ' e s p r i t , repondite l l e avec un a i r 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 q u ' i l est impossible que l e corps et l ' e s p r i t ne se lassent et que l'on ne cherche du repos. (p. 239) The husband's f r u s t r a t i o n at h i s i n a b i l i t y to communicate e f f e c t i v e l y with h i s wife shows i n h i s persistent questioning and r e s u l t s , eventually, i n the shocking revelations of the confession. Nemours, too, i s confused by the c o n f l i c t i n g reactions he receives from Mme de Gleves.  Her candid reactions to h i s pre-  sence indicate amorous interest and pleasure while her s o c i a l mask i s indifference and fear.  Ever mindful of the rules gover-  ning s o c i a l conduct, Nemours i s constrained to express h i s i n t e r est and emotions toward Mme de Gleves i n indirect speeches which ostensibly refer to t h i r d parties as indicated i n the scene which takes place i n 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 c l e a r l y meant for the understanding and appreciation of Mme de Gleves.  Forbidden to  use d i r e c t speech, he cannot j u s t i f y or explain himself to her and must adopt an aspect of respectful silence i f he i s to achieve h i s goal while maintaining a semblance of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y : L'envie de parler a Mme de Gleves l u i venait toujours dans l ' e s p r i t . II songea a en trouver l e s moyens, i l pensa a l u i ecrire; mais enfin i l trouva qu'apres l a faute q u ' i l avait f a l t e , et de l'humeur dont e l l e e t a i t , 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 respect par son a f f l i c t i o n et par son silence, de l u i f a i r e v o i r meme q u ' i l n'osait se presenter devant e l l 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 qu'elle avait pour l u i , pourraient f a i r e en sa faveur. (p. 264) Compliance with the rules of conduct secures s o c i a l approval at the expense of honesty and personal f u l f i l l m e n t .  The d u p l l -  26  c i t y which Is required i s most obvious In the case of the two women who have claims on the Kings de Valentinois.  the Queen and the duchesse  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 i s 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 s o c i a l status.  She i s bound by the  requirements of her role as the King's wife to tolerate the existence of h i s 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 f o r 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 s o u f f r f t sans peine l'attachement du r o i pour l a duchesse de Valent i n o i s , et e l l e n'en temoignalt aucune jalousie, mais e l l e avait une s i profonde dissimulation q u ' i l e t a i t d i f f i c i l e de juger de ses sentiments, et l a politesse l ' o b l i g e a i t d'approcher cette duchesse de sa personne, a f i n d'en approcher aussi l e 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 are  not i n her favour.  who  She has s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n by virtue of  being the King's mistress and has a l l the f i n a n c i a l 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 s o c i a l d u p l i c i t y  rampant at the time since her acceptance i s not based on her personal worth but rather on her relationship with the King. Her p o s i t i o n i s at best tenuous, as seen i n her f a l l from favour during the King's i l l n e s s (p. 269) and her banishment from the court a f t e r his death (p. 2 7 1 ) .  27  If acceptance of the rules f o r s o c i a l conduct creates d u p l i c i t y which r e s u l t s i n f r u s t r a t i o n s and misunderstandings, i t s t i l l allows some measure of contentment f o r the Individual i n that he can continue to function within the enclosure h i s s o c i a l m i l i e u without fear of ostracism.  of  A r e f u s a l to conform  to the rules, however, or a deviation from the normally accepted behavior pattern has, on the s o c i a l scene, effects that often extend beyond the scope of the individual's foresight, as seen i n Mme  de Gleves*s confession and l a t e r i n her declaration of  love for Nemours. Mme  de Chartres took great pains to ensure that her daughter  would appreciate  the exigencies of the c u l t u r a l code which governs  t h e i r society, and to give her a good grounding i n the possible p i t f a l l s involved i n 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 f a i r e 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 who  might be tempted to try for a l i a i s o n with her and  men  so above  suspicion that her husband jokes that the missing p o r t r a i t might have been given to one of her lovers (p.  204).  Even though Nemours i s constantly found wherever Mme Cleves may  be, her conduct never gives r i s e to the  de  suspicion  that she might be "cette maftresse pour qui i l a quitte toutes l e s autres"(p. 209).  Her tenacious grip on the code of blen-  seance s l i p s from time to time as she wrestles with the problem of protecting herself from Nemours's advances which are becoming more and more bold.  F i n a l l y , pressed by her husband to explain  her bizarre behaviour, Mme  de Cleves steps over the boundaries  28 of the c u l t u r a l code and confesses her i n c l i n a t i o n f o r Nemours: — S h bien, Monsieur, l u i repondit-elle en se jetant a ses genouXj je vais vous f a i r e 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 v r a i que j ' a i des ralsons de m'eloigner de l a cour et que je veux eviter l e s p e r i l s ou se trouvent quelquefois l e s personnes de mon age. Je n'ai jamais donne nulle marque de faiblesse et je ne cralndrais pas d'en l a i s s e r paraftre s i vous me l a i s s e z l a l i b e r t e 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 s o i t le p a r t i que je prends, je l e prends avec joie pour me conserver digne d'etre a vous. Je vous demande m i l l e pardons, s i j ' a i des sentiments qui vous deplaisent, du moins je ne vous d e p l a i r a l jamais par mes actions. Songez que pour f a i r e ce que je f a i s , i l faut avoir plus d'amitie at plus d'estime pour un mari que l'on en a jamais eu; conduisez moi, ayez p i t i e de moi, et aimez-moi encore, s l vous pouvez. (pp. 240-41) Mme  de Cleves's reasons f o r the confession are c l e a r 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 i n terms of her behaviour., asserting that, although her emotions may be g u i l t y , she has never acted u n f a i t h f u l l y toward her husband.  She i s attempting to unload her g u i l t and confusion  while asking f o r the understanding and respect that she f e e l s her unprecedented  honesty should merit.  Unfortunately, however,  the f a c t of the confession and the nature of i t s content are so foreign to M. de Cleves's appreciation of appropriate s o c i a l conduct that he cannot accept i t on the terms i n which i t i s presented.  Although M. de Cleves has, i n a sense, i n v i t e d the  confession by predicting to h i s wife h i s reaction i n a s i t u a t i o n similar to that of Sancerre (p. 181),ahis.tactual reaction-jealousy, c u r i o s i t y , 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 l e t t e r which t o l d 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 c u l t u r a l code provides f o r  conditioned responses to expected s t i m u l i .  When the stimulus  comes from an action i n which the code i s contravened, however, the response cannot be foreseen; and although one may hope f o r a response as honest as the stimulus, the combination of c u l t u r a l shaping and human nature may override logic and understanding. Mme  de Cleves subsequently regrets t h i s departure from the  norm when she r e a l i z e s 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  u n t i l she i s again pressed f o r an explanation of her aberrant b e h a v i o u r — t h i s time by Nemours a f t e r M. de C l e v e s s death. 1  Mme  de Cleves*s declaration of love f o r Nemours (pp.  302-09)  c l e a r l y contravenes the c u l t u r a l code, but i t springs from an innate sense of and respect f o r honesty.  The prlncesse o f f e r s a  statement of f a c t s , hoping that Nemours w i l l understand and respect the reasons f o r her choice of conduct.  Mme  de Cleves i s  sure of her innocence i n terms of her past conduct and equally certain of her resolutions f o r the future:  H  J e vous f a i s cet  aveu avec moins de honte, parce que je l e f a i s dans un temps ou je l e puis f a i r e 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 s u i v r a i l e s regies austeres que devoir m'impose"(p. 303).  mon  She anticipates that Nemours w i l l  accept her decision due to the honesty and o b j e c t i v i t y with which her rationale i s presented. But she underestimates the c u l t u r a l conditioning of the man with whom she i s dealing.  Nemours does not appreciate the  30 psychological tions, with  factors  preferring  statements  practices. liaison. duty  i m p l i e d i n Mme  t o combat a n  t o mourn M.  de  strict  r e j e c t i o n of  arguments based  speaks o f duty  Nemours t a k e s t h i s  Cleves's  illogical  o f g a l a n t e r l e and  When she  de  concept  on  pleasure worldly  a s an o b s t a c l e t o i n the  Cleves f o r a s p e c i f i e d  sense  resolu-  their  of her  social  time:  — V o u s n'y s o n g e z p a s , 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 v o u s l i e , v o u s e t e s en l i b e r t e ; e t s i j ' o s a i s , j e v o u s d i r a l meme q u ' i l d e p e n d de v o u s 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 j o u r a c o n s e r v e r l e s s e n t i m e n t s que v o u s a v e z p o u r m o i . — M o n d e v o i r , r e p l i q u a - t - e l l e , me d e f e n d de p e n s e r j a m a i s a p e r s o n n e , e t m o i n s a v o u s qu'a q u i que c e s o i t a u monde, p a r d e s r a i s o n s q u i v o u s s o n t i n c o n n u e s . - - E l l e s ne me l e s o n t p e u t - e t r e p a s , Madame, r e p r i t i l ; m a i s ce ne s o n t p o i n t de v e r i t a b l e s r a i s o n s . ( p p . 303-04) Mme  de  C l e v e s cannot  are based  convince  on a n y t h i n g b u t  not accustomed t o the their  emotional  self-discipline. attempt since  p u r s u i t s now ments e x i s t . Mme  de  totally As  As  social o f Mme  we  have  attitude seen,  century  society.  positive one  and  be  Cleves's  second  gained  and  atypical  the  c o n f i r m a t i o n t h a t mutual  of the u n c o n v e n t i o n a l  first,  an e q u a l l y u n c o n v e n t i o n a l ,  toward the r e s t  set out f o r the people  C o m p l i a n c e w i t h and negative a t t r i b u t e s ,  of her  life.  of the  code  are  seventeenth-  d e v i a t i o n from  them  but  i s not  I n some c a s e s  tolerated,  senti-  declaration,  the g u i d e l i n e s of the c u l t u r a l  or the o t h e r .  t h e r u l e s may  de  governing  with reason  i s as u n s a t i s f a c t o r y as  C l e v e s i s f o r c e d t o adopt insular,  training  of  is  s e r v e s o n l y t o e n c o u r a g e Nemours i n h i s  a result  d e f i n e d and  solely  and  result  t h a t he has  clearly  has  f e a r o f s o c i a l d i s f a v o u r , f o r he  t o r e a s o n w i t h a man  the d e c l a r a t i o n  apprehensions  i d e a t h a t women a r e c a p a b l e  responses The  Nemours t h a t h e r  the c h o i c e  slight  each  d e v i a t i o n from  and many o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e  able  31 to use the g u i d e l i n e s , s l i g h t l y m o d i f i e d , to j u s t i f y t h e i r nonconformist a c t i o n s .  They must, however, he m i n d f u l of the dan-  ger of o v e r - j u s t i f i c a t i o n which can l e a d to s u s p i c i o n s j u s t same.  Mme  de G l e v e s s p s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g from  the the  1  d i s p a r i t y between what she has been taught and what she i s e x p e r i e n c i n g makes i t necessary f o r her t o manipulate  the  cul-  t u r a l code j u s t as Nemours*s f r u s t r a t e d attempts  at galanterie  w i t h r e s p e c t to her r e q u i r e him t o do the same.  There i s , how-  ever, a d i f f e r e n c e i n i n t e n t f o r the two t h a t can be viewed i n terms of the o p p o s i t i o n of n a i v e t e and  calculation.  A good example of c a l c u l a t i o n i s the malaise  diplomatique.  I l l h e a l t h i s a r e a d i l y accepted and w i d e l y employed excuse to a v o i d an unpleasant  situation.  For Mme  de Cleves i t p r o v i d e s  a c r e d i b l e excuse t o a v o i d going to M. de Saint-Andre's  ball,  to remove h e r s e l f t o the country t o a v o i d M. de Nemours, and to get h e r s e l f out of the uncomfortable Nemours c r e a t e s i n Mme  s i t u a t i o n which  l a dauphine's chambers*  "Comme i l y  a v a i t 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 p r e t e x t e pour s o r t i r  d'un  l i e u ou e l l e n * a v a l t pas l a f o r c e de demeurer e t , f e l g n a n t de ne se p o u v o i r s o u t e n i r , e l l e s*en a l i a chez e l l e " ( p p . 257-58). For Nemours, h i s own  i l l n e s s a l l o w s him t o cover up h i s l a c k  of d e s i r e t o a t t e n d the d a i l y s a l o n s which Mme forsaken:  "Une  l e g e r e maladie  de C l e v e s  has  l u i s e r v i t longtemps de p r e t e x t e  pour demeurer chez l u i et pour e v i t e r d ' a l l e r dans tous l e s l i e u x ou i l s a v a i t b i e n que Mme  de Cleves ne s e r a i t pas"(p.  194);  and, combined with the temporary I n f i r m i t y of M. de C l e v e s , i t a l s o a l l o w s Nemours the o p p o r t u n i t y to spend e n t i r e days i n the presence  of Mme  de C l e v e s (pp. 19^-95)•  32 S o c i a l bienseance i s a l s o used and abused i n the p u r s u i t of t h e i r g o a l s .  Mme  by the c h a r a c t e r s  de C l e v e s p r o f i t s from the  n e c e s s i t y to mourn her mother's death t o take refuge from Nemours a t Coulommiers.  Her second f l i g h t t o the country r e s i -  dence i s l e s s w e l l j u s t i f i e d and when pressed f o r an a c c e p t a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r her sudden penchant de C l e v e s c i t e s s o c i a l decorum: ne veut pas qu'une femme de mon  f o r r e s t and s o l i t u d e ,  "Songez seulement  que l a prudence  age, et maftresse de sa c o n d u i t e ,  demeure exposee au m i l i e u de l a c o u r " ( p . 240).  And when, a f t e r  M. de C l e v e s ' s death, Nemours p r e s s e s her t o accept and h i s advances she a g a i n s t a t e s the o p p o s i t i o n of s o c i a l she i s i n m o u r n i n g — t o un e t a t q u i me  Mme  cover her r e a l reasons:  return practice—  "Je s u i s dans  f a i t des crimes de t o u t ce q u i p o u r r a i t  etre  permis dans un a u t r e temps, et l a seule bienseance i n t e r d l t commerce entre nous"(p,  308).  tout  Nemours, too, manipulates the code  of bienseance but not by n a i v e l y u s i n g u s i n g i t as a t i o n or r a t i o n a l e f o r h i s a c t i o n s :  justifica-  the duke p r o f i t s from other  people's sense of a p p r o p r i a t e s o c i a l conduct i n h i s c a l c u l a t e d attempts to g a i n a c c e s s . t o Mme  de C l e v e s .  to her chambers to c o n s u l t 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,  When r e f u s e d entrance  to assure h i m s e l f t h a t  she understands t h a t i t does not belong to him—Nemours appeals to M. de C l e v e s ' s sense of duty t o the vidame, thereby succeeding i n h i s double g o a l :  " I I a l i a a 1 *appartement de M. de C l e v e s ,  e t l u i d i t q u ' i l v e n a i t de c e l u i de madame sa femme, q u ' i l  etait  b i e n fache:de ne :1a- p o u v o i r - e n t r e t e n i r , parce q u ' i l a v a i t a l u i p a r l e r d'une a f f a i r e importante pour l e vidame de C h a r t r e s . fit  entendre en peu de mots a M, de Cleves l a consequence de  c e t t e a f f a i r e , e t M. de Cleves l e mena a 1'heure meme dans l a  II  33 chambre de sa femme"(p. 228). of blenseance  Nemours does r e s p e c t the code  i n t h a t he i s h e s i t a n t t o demonstrate  h i s i n c l i n a t i o n f o r Mme  too openly  de Gleves, f e a r i n g t h a t i t might compro-  mise h i s p o s i t i o n w i t h r e s p e c t t o her. the s i l e n c e and disappearance of Mme  But he cannot  endure  de C l e v e s a f t e r her husband's  death, so he a g a i n 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 v i d a m e — t o set up the f i n a l meeting  between them.  The m o t i v a t i o n behind t h e i r m a n i p u l a t i o n of the code i s b a s i c a l l y the same f o r both Mme each seeks an a c c e p t a b l e way  cultural  de C l e v e s and  Nemours—  i n which t o e l i m i n a t e a d i s a g r e e a b l e  s i t u a t i o n without c a u s i n g p u b l i c s c a n d a l — b u t , a g a i n , there i s a difference i n intent. adventures,  Mme  de C l e v e s , a l l the way  through  her  i s t r y i n g to reach an a c c e p t a b l e s t a t e of compromise  between her d e s i r e s and her d u t i e s without unduly harming any of the people i n v o l v e d .  Since she has been taught by her mother  t o a v o i d any h i n t of g a l a n t e r i e and s i n c e she knows t h a t the b e s t way  t o r e s i s t temptation i s not t o encounter  it,  her i n -  s t i n c t i v e r e a c t i o n 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 s y n c r a t i c d e c i s i o n which does not conform f o r people of her s o c i a l rank.  to the code of conduct  M a n i p u l a t i n g the code, then,  to cover up f o r her e x t r a o r d i n a r y behavior i s j u s t as and r e f l e c t s Mme  idio-  instinctive  de C l e v e s ' s n a i v e t e i n t h i n k i n g t h a t she can  keep s e c r e t her involvement  i n the n a t i o n a l pastime.  F a i l i n g to  e x p l a i n her r e s o l u t i o n s to Nemours i n terms of reason and she has no o t h e r r e c o u r s e but to invoke blenseance  logic,  (thereby  e x e m p l i f y i n g her l a c k of immunity to the d u p l i c i t y t h a t p l a y s so g r e a t a p a r t In seventeenth-century  s o c i e t y ) hoping  that  Nemours w i l l r e c o v e r with time. I f Mme  de C l e v e s ' s m a n i p u l a t i o n of the c u l t u r a l code i s  3^ based  on the n a i v e thought t h a t she can a v o i d t e m p t a t i o n  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 t o the c o n t r a r y .  E v e r y one  of h i s  c o n t r a v e n t i o n s of the code i s c a l c u l a t e d . H i s schemes a r e a l l o r i e n t e d toward the conquest of Mme  de G l e v e s , showing  little  o r 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 might be i n the way. ment and  Mme  de C l e v e s * s r i g h t t o p e r s o n a l  who  content-  s o l i t u d e i s t r a n s g r e s s e d throughout the a d v e n t u r e ,  and  even a t the end of the n o v e l a f t e r b e i n g u n e q u i v o c a l l y d i s m i s s e d by h e r , Nemours i s s t i l l working  out ways t o I n t r u d e upon Mme  C l e v e s * s s e l f - i m p o s e d e x i l e by I n v o k i n g the a i d of a l l the a t the c o u r t who  might be a b l e t o i n f l u e n c e her  Whatever the b a s i s f o r m a n i p u l a t i n g the code may  people  judgement. be, we can  t h a t i n each case i t f u n c t i o n e d w i t h q u a l i f i e d success as a stop-gap measure, but I n n e i t h e r case d i d i t b r i n g about the desired results.  de  see  35 Restrictions, C o n f l i c t s , and  Resolutions  Through our examination of La Princesse de Cleves we have gained some knowledge about the society i n which i t takes place. Mme  de l a Payette presents a s o c i a l portrait of the court complete  with physical descriptions and an outline of i t s value structure. We know what physical a t t r i b u t e s 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 i n seventeenthcentury l i f e ; we have seen the e f f e c t s of compliance with and deviation from the code, effects which Influence the psycholog i c a l make-up of the members of t h i s 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 f o r s o c i a l interaction by r e s t r i c t i n g membership and conduct i n t h i s society.  These r e s t r i c t i o n s de-  fine an atmosphere where psychological c o n f l i c t s abound, conf l i c t s which can only be resolved by acting within the l i m i t s of the code.  A l l of the problems encountered by the  characters  are related to t h i s e s s e n t i a l opposition of a r t i f i c i a l i t y  (the  code) and r e a l i t y (emotion, c o n f l i c t ) . The seventeenth-century c u l t u r a l code defines and,  through  i t s d e f i n i t i o n s , creates a closed s o c i e t y — t h e court--where membership, actions, and values are prescribed.  The practice of  galanterle i s an i n t e g r a l part of courtly l i f e that i s both encouraged and protected by the r e s t r i c t i o n s of the c u l t u r a l code. The l i m i t e d nature of the court as a s o c i a l m i l i e u determines the number of participants that may for amorous intrigues. men,  be present and available  Roles are c l e a r l y defined for men  and  wo-  married and unmarried, and appropriate conduct i s equally  c l e a r l y prescribed.  The r i t u a l of galanterle i s also protected  36 by that aspect of the c u l t u r a l code which requires that a l l members of the court come i n contact with each other at both private and public functions.  The c u l t u r a l code also prescribes  the respective reactions of men and women when engaged i n galant e r i e — a man i s praised f o r h i s persistence and success while a woman i s admired f o r her tolerance of f l a t t e r y and her adroit r e j e c t i o n of advances.  The complicity of the courtly society  i n the practice of galanterie i s seen at the b a l l where Mme de Gleves and Nemours meet f o r the f i r s t time (pp. 153-5*0 •  Every-  one i s aware of Nemours's reputation with women and of h i s physical attractiveness. They are not any l e s s aware of Mme de Cleves's beauty nor of her newly acquired status as a married woman.  Yet i n spite of t h i s information, which should require  that Nemours and Mme de Cleves be kept apart, the King places them together on the dance f l o o r , encouraging begin.  the a f f a i r e to  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 i n which Nemours and Mme de Cleves are formally introduced! — P o u r moi, Madame, d i t M. de Nemours, je n'ai pas d'incertitude $ mais comme Mme de Cleves n'a pas l e s memes raisons pour deviner qui je suis que c e l l e s que j ' a i pour l a reconnaftre, je voudrals bien que Votre Majeste eut l a bonte de l u i apprendre mon nom. — J e c r o i s , d i t Mme l a dauphlne, qu'elle l e s a l t aussi bien que vous savez l e sien. — J e vous assure, Madame, r e p r i t Mme de Cleves, qui p a r a i s s a i t un peu embarrassee, que je ne devine pas s i bien que vous pensez. —Vous devinez f o r t 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 l e connaissez sans l ' a v o i r Jamais vu. (p. 154) Nemours i s 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 t r i e s to feign a lack of interest i n and p r i o r knowledge of the duke.  The dauphine thoroughly enjoys the r i t u a l ,  recogni-  zing neither her part i n preparing Mme de Gleves for her downfall—"Mme l a dauphine leilui<,avait.depeint d'une sorte et l u i en avait parle tant de f o i s qu'elle l u i avait donne de l a c u r i o s i t e , et meme de 1'impatience de l e voir"(p. 153)—nor the extent to which the r e s u l t i n g intrigues would harm Mme de Gleves. The c u l t u r a l code also encourages the practice of galanterle by c o n t r o l l i n g the opportunities for and manner of communication between persons of opposite  sexes.  I t i s unusual f o r a man and  a woman who are not related to be l e f t alone, and such very r e a d i l y give r i s e to scandal.  interviews  Public contact between unre-  lated men and women i s expected and required, but does not allow for open conversation  or statements of intent since s o c i a l con-  versation i s governed by s o c i a l bienseance.  Honest and sincere .  discussions between people are not expected and are c e r t a i n l y not encouraged, thus the r i t u a l of i n d i r e c t conversation  (demon-  strations of a talent for wit and rhetoric) becomes a cornerstone of galanterle.  The taboo against d i r e c t expression  also makes  i t d i f f i c u l t f o r an i n d i v i d u a l to put an end to unwelcome advances by appealing  to another person's sense of reason, with the r e s u l t  that an attempt at an a f f a i r can only be ended by s i l e n c e . Since galanterle i s so well protected and encouraged by the c u l t u r a l code i t achieves a p o s i t i o n of unequivocal importance to the members of seventeenth-century society. operate and survive without t h e i r co-operation,  I t cannot  and because the  people at the court subscribe to and obey the code, there i s l i t t l e chance that the practice of galanterie w i l l die out. Neither i s there much chance f o r the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of t h i s  38 society's view of love to be discovered, encourages dishonesty  since the code also  and i l l u s i o n i n s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . A  talent f o r d u p l i c i t y i s necessitated by the prescriptions f o r s o c i a l behavior which do not allow the i n d i v i d u a l to aspire to any s e l f - f u l f i l l i n g action that may contravene the code. I f , f o r example, a woman marries f o r a l l the "proper" reasons ( s o c i a l standing, f i n a n c i a l assurance, good family t i e s ) she i s bound to f i n d her i d e n t i t y and f u l f i l l m e n t In t h i s r o l e .  Should she,  l i k e Mme de Gleves, discover, through meeting another man, that her r o l e lacks some measure of excitement which i s r e a d i l y a v a i l able (although not s t r i c t l y allowable within the bounds of the c u l t u r a l code) she must have recourse i n order to gain contentment.  to secrecy and dishonesty  Mme de Cleves, however, cannot  bring herself to practice t h i s sort of d u p l i c i t y  (admittedly,  she does manage to use white l i e s to get herself out of some situations) and so she suffers a dual d i s c o n t e n t — f i r s t , that she cannot have what she wants, and secondly, that she cannot bring herself to do what she can, within the allowances of acceptable s o c i a l practices, to get i t .  The obstacles to a know-  ledge about and an appreciation of love that are created by the a r b i t r a r y and a r t i f i c i a l nature of the c u l t u r a l code, while not being t o t a l l y insurmountable, c e r t a i n l y enhance the value of the r e s u l t s 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 c r i t e r i a ) have a very r e a l e f f e c t on the psychological well-being of the people involved. The psychological c o n f l i c t s experienced by some of the characters i n La Prlncesse de Cleves f a l l into three basic categories, a l l of which are, i n some measure, related to the c u l t u r a l code.  39 F i r s t , there are those problems which are a d i r e c t r e s u l t of s o c i a l pressure that i s found to be i n opposition with desires (ought to vs. want t o ) .  personal  Secondly, there are those con-  f l i c t s which arise from a desire f o r self-knowledge which i s opposed by the s o c i a l code of s u p e r f i c i a l i t y (essence vs. r o l e ) . Thirdly, there are the problems created when actual practices do not exemplify an Individual's r e a l thoughts and emotions (theory vs. p r a c t i c e ) . Mme de Gleves i s the one character who experiences  a l l of these c o n f l i c t s , while her husband and Nemours  are d i r e c t l y involved i n only the f i r s t — t h e y are, however, imp l i c a t e d i n the others through t h e i r association with Mme de Gleves. The heroine constantly f i n d s herself i n a state of confusion when confronted by Nemours and h i s i n d i r e c t (sometimes d i r e c t ) attestations of admiration and respect, as seen i n one exchange that takes place between the two characters shortly a f t e r 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 l e s pas s o u f f r i r . II l u i semblait aussi qu'elle ne devait pas l e s entendre, n i temoigner qu'elle l e s p r i t pour e l l e . E l l e croyait devoir parler et c r o y a i t ne devoir r i e n d i r e . Le discours de M. de Nemours l u i p l a i s a i t et l ' o f f e n s a l t quasi egalement; e l l e y voyait l a confirmation de tout ce que l u i avait f a i t penser Mme l a Dauphine; e l l e 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 * i n c l i n a t i o n qu'elle avait pour ce prince l u i donnait un trouble dont e l l e n ' e t a i t pas maltresse. (p. 193) The emotional side of Mme de Cleves's make-up encourages her to accept the duke's advances while her r a t i o n a l and s o c i a l l y conscious  s e l f demands that she take offense and r e j e c t him,  thus remaining f a i t h f u l to her husband.  Part of her c o n f l i c t  also comes from the fact that although her status as a wife  40 requires that she show some degree of love f o r M. de Gleves, she has no desire to act out t h i s s o c i a l l y defined duty toward her husband.  Her desire f o r solitude as a means of avoiding  Nemours i s another source of trouble f o r Mme  de Cleves since she  i s cognizant of her s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to appear at the court with her husband. cracies.  The c u l t u r a l code does not tolerate idiosyn-  I t i s 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 i n the c o n f l i c t between t h e i r s o c i a l requirements and t h e i r desires, although the effects of these c o n f l i c t s are not as serious f o r them as they are f o r Mme  de Cleves.  M. de Cleves s desires 1  appear to be t o t a l l y In agreement with the requirements of the c u l t u r a l c o d e — a l l he wants i s that h i s wife return h i s emotional investment i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p .  What he ignores i s that t h e i r  marriage i s based on convenience and appropriateness, as s o c i a l custom encourages, and not on love, as h i s romantic desire.  inclinations  The c u l t u r a l code provides that he should be content  with h i s virtuous, f a i t h f u l , and s o c i a l l y aware wife, but i t does not furnish any rules f o r s o l i c i t i n g passion from a wife who i s not disposed to give i t f r e e l y .  He therefore finds that h i s  desires, while not being outrageous i n terms of s o c i a l l y accepted behavior, cannot be s a t i s f i e d under the circumstances of his marriage and the prescriptions of behavior that apply to i t . Nemours's wish to engage Mme  de Cleves i n an a f f a i r of galanterie  i s b a s i c a l l y acceptable under the code, since i t i s expected of a l l handsome young men that they should excel i n matters of t h i s kind.  His c o n f l i c t arises when he comes up against Mme  de  Cleves's staunch r e f u s a l to compromise her virtuous reputation  41 for  the sake o f temporary  gentleman  pleasure.  Since Nemours, being a  of q u a l i t y , understands the requirements of the c u l -  t u r a l code where i t concerns women, he becomes a v i c t i m o f the double standard which a l l o w s men t o have a f f a i r s w i t h women while advocating that women a v o i d i n t r i g u e s w i t h men.  He can and must  r e s p e c t Mme de C l e v e s ' s r e s o l u t i o n s t o observe the r u l e s of the c u l t u r a l code, even though i t i s h i s r o l e and d e s i r e t o make her change her mind. Mme de C l e v e s ' s penchant  f o r s e l f knowledge and, t o a c e r -  t a i n e x t e n t , s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n f i n d s o p p o s i t i o n i n the c u l t u r a l code which d e f i n e s an i n d i v i d u a l ' s worth f o r him i n terms of his  p h y s i c a l t r a i t s and s o c i a l r o l e .  Mme de C h a r t r e s , i n h e r  t e a c h i n g s , prepares h e r daughter f o r s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n and consequent non-conformity t o the c u l t u r a l norm w h i l e a t the same time emphasizing the importance of m a i n t a i n i n g 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 a u t r e c o t e , q u e l l e t r a n q u i l i t y s u i v a i t l a v i e d'une honnete femme, e t combien l a v e r t u donnait d ' e c l a t e t d ' e l e v a t i o n a une personne q u i a v a i t de l a beaute e t de l a n a i s s a n c e ; mais e l l e l u i f a i s a i t v o i r a u s s i combien i l e t a i t d i f f i c i l e de conserver c e t t e v e r t u , que p a r une extreme d e f i a n c e de soi-meme e t p a r un grand s o i n de s ' a t t a c h e r a ce q u i s e u l peut f a i r e l e bonheur d'une femme, q u i est d'aimer son marl e t d'en e t r e aimee. (p. 137) The " d e f i a n c e de soi-meme" which i s advocated cannot be found through b l i n d acceptance and adherence for  to a r o l e .  I n order  an i n d i v i d u a l t o safeguard h i m s e l f a g a i n s t any t h r e a t , he  must f i r s t g a i n a knowledge of what c o n s t i t u t e s a t h r e a t and what h i s powers a r e t o combat i t .  A l l the way through the n o v e l  Mme de C l e v e s i s s e a r c h i n g f o r t h i s knowledge, but she never has a chance t o t e s t out her hypotheses. under which she l i v e s  The c u l t u r a l code  (which i s embodied by M. de C l e v e s and  Mme de C h a r t r e s ) has determined what she should view as a t h r e a t  42 to her virtue and s o c i a l well-being. steps, i f any, may  It also prescribes what  be taken to combat i t .  The l i m i t a t i o n s of her s o c i a l role—woman, a r i s t o c r a t , married—Impose upon Mme  de Gleves a s u p e r f i c i a l i t y which i s  not compatible with the depth of her self-perception. The conf l i c t which results i s c l e a r l y shown i n her r e j e c t i o n of Nemours at the end of the novel.  Mme  de Cleves t r i e s to explain to  Nemours that the reasons for her decision against him are not based on the s u p e r f i c i a l c r i t e r i a of s o c i a l 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 l e s femmes souhaitent de vous attacher. II y en a peu a qui vous ne p l a i s l e z ; mon experience me f e r a i t c r o i r e q u ' i l n'y en a point a qui vous ne puissiez p l a i r e . Je vous c r o i r a l s toujours amoureux et alme et je ne me tromperais pas souvent. Dans cet etat neanmoins, je n'aurais djautre p a r t i a prendre que c e l u i de l a souffranees je ne sals meme s i j'oserais me plaindre. On f a i t des reproches a un amant? mais en f a i t - o n a un mari, quand on n'a qu'a l u i reprocher de n'avoir plus d*amour? (p. 307) She r e a l i z e s that the c u l t u r a l 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 t h e i r marriage  would bear the mark of s o c i a l approval, Mme  de Cleves r e a l i z e s  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 s u p e r f i c i a l attitude toward marriage because she knows h e r s e l f too w e l l — h e r personal desires would always be i n c o n f l i c t with s o c i a l practice. Another source of c o n f l i c t f o r Mme  de Cleves i s the fact  that even though the guidelines for appropriate s o c i a l conduct are c l e a r l y defined and obediance of them expected,  she often  43  sees around her examples of conduct which conform neither to the c u l t u r a l code nor to the r e a l thoughts, emotions, and of the i n d i v i d u a l .  intentions  The most obvious example of t h i s contrast  between theory and practice i s found i n 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 minds que Mme  "—Je  of gaining peace  ne saurais c r o l r e , interrompit Mme  de Gleves,  de Tournon, apres cet eloignement s i extraordinaire  qu'elle a temoigne pour l e mariage depuis qu'elle est veuve, et apres l e s declarations publiques qu'elle a f a i t e s de ne se remarler jamais, a i t donne des esperances a Sancerre (p. rt  So convincing  i s Mme  most impossible even one man,  de Tournon that Mme  de Gleves finds i t a l -  to believe that such a lady could d a l l y with  l e t alone play o f f one lover against anothers  "—L'on ne peut etre plus surprise que Mme  175)•  de Gleves, et je croyals Mme  et de tromperie"(p. 186).  je le suis, d i t alors  de Tournon incapable d'amour  Indeed, the truth would never have  been known had she not died, thus having l o s t control over the imposed r e s t r i c t i o n s on her two for Mme  lovers.  Two  de Gleves grow out of t h i s t a l e .  sources of c o n f l i c t  F i r s t , she i s presented  with M. de Gleves*s hypothetical statement of how i f he found out that his wife had a lovers s i ma maitresse,  he would act  ". . . je c r o i s que  et meme ma femme, m'avouait que quelqu*un l u i  plut, j'en serais a f f l l g e sans etre a i g r i .  Je q u i t t e r a l s l e  personnage d'amant ou de marl, pour l a c o n s e i l l e r et pour l a plalndre,''(p. 181).  Such a statement does not conform with what  she knows to be true about jealousy i n her s o c i a l environment, yet she would l i k e to believe and act upon i t to r e l i e v e herself  44 of the problem of Nemours. to practice, Mme  Although the theory i s preferable  de Gleves r e a l i z e s i t s unreliable nature through  seeing the e f f e c t s of i l l u s i o n on Sancerre. of c o n f l i c t for Mme  The second source  de Gleves i s the fact that Mme  de fournon  succeeded so well i n her d u p l i c i t y and was not found out u n t i l a f t e r her death when public opinion could no longer harm her. The p o s s i b i l i t y f o r Mme  de Gleves to keep her lover and  her  husband i s presented, but she must r e j e c t i t since she knows that she lacks a basic talent f o r dishonesty  i n a f f a i r s of t h i s kind.  The resolutions that are made to deal with the c o n f l i c t s which a r i s e from the r e s t r i c t i v e nature of the c u l t u r a l code are, f o r the most part, unsatisfactory and condemned to f a i l u r e since they respond only to the exigencies of the code and to the needs of the Individual.  Every time Mme  not  de Gleves resolves  to have nothing more to do with Nemours (except, of course, the f i n a l resolution) she i s reacting to s o c i a l pressure--fear public scandal, duty to her husband—and not to her own  of  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 f o r any great length of time.  Her f i n a l resolution i s the only  one  that has any p o s s i b i l i t y of success because It i s based on s e l f awareness and an honest desire to remain true to herself at any expense.  M i de Cleves's resolution, a f t e r the confession,  not  to press h i s wife to reveal the i d e n t i t y of her lover nor to 12 dwell upon the a f f a i r  does not l a s t long i n the face of h i s  overwhelming c u r i o s i t y and his desires to the contrary.  Nemours,  of course, i s incapable of keeping any resolution that Interferes with h i s personal goals, but he at l e a s t 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  m e a s u r e s w h i l e he  come a r o u n d t o h i s way .  . . [que}  profond le  temps, l e h a s a r d  pourraient The  faire  conflict  m i n a t i o n and a person  . . . son  faire  et 1 ' i n c l i n a t i o n sa f a v e u r " ( p .  the c u l t u r a l  trying  Gleves  l e a v e s the  both  trouva  l u i temoigner  . . . et d'attendre qu'elle avait  de G l e v e s ' s  be  h e r own  desire for  to  f o r h e r own  The  existence and  artificial  code i s i n c o m p a t i b l e w i t h h e r d e v e l o p i n g the e x i g e n c i e s o f t h i s code a r e not  necessary.  govern  f o r o n e ' s own  code,  sense  Mme  de  rejecting  nature  as  of  of honesty,  r e l e v a n t to her  t h e m i l i e u where t h e y  life.  by  ;  personal r u l e s of conduct,  from  fitting  self-determination i s effectively  of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  p o s s i b l e answer t o h e r d i l e m m a .  que  self-deter-  a r u l e of conduct  j u r i s d i c t i o n of the c u l t u r a l  herself  ce  pour l u i ,  a s a c r i t e r i o n on w h i c h t o b a s e h e r d e c i s i o n and  i s about to e x i l e  un  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  responsibility  to determine  . .11  to  264).  s o c i e t y has  i s the concept  to take  de G l e v e s  code's p r e s c r i p t i o n s of behavior  cannot  Since the  ".  e t a i t de  silence  between Mme  trying  it  put  foreseeable social action,  e l i m i n a t e d as By  en  of her rank  of the code. every  of p e r c e i v i n g things:  l e mieux q u ' i l  respect par  w a i t s f o r Mme  since are  a  the and she  ^6 S t e r e o t y p e s , Laws, and Suggestions We have a l r e a d y seen how the c u l t u r a l code I m p l i c i t i n the novel has d e f i n e d and stereotyped people of s p e c i f i c  roles  by s p e c i f y i n g t h e i r p h y s i c a l t r a i t s and t h e i r mode of conduct. Sometimes, however, the n a r r a t o r and the c h a r a c t e r s make b a l d statements  about people and t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s i n order t o j u s t i f y  a c e r t a i n a c t i o n which may not be governed by the r u l e s of the c u l t u r a l code.  I n some cases, these maxims are s t a t e d i n the  manner c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f the Maxlmes o f l a Rochefoucauld, l n others they may be i n f e r r e d from the context o f a  while  statement.  Such e x p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e s t o human nature and s o c i a l v a l u e s provide e x p r e s s i o n s 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 , statements e r a l l y accepted t r u t h s about conduct  of gen-  and human n a t u r e , and sug-  g e s t i o n s o f other g e n e r a l l y accepted t r u t h s which may be i n f e r r e d from a c t i o n s which do not exemplify the c u l t u r a l norm. There a r e three main areas o f s t e r e o t y p i n g e v i d e n t i n the novel:  first,  there i s c u l t u r a l s t e r e o t y p i n g which  Includes  p r a i s i n g the French way of l i f e , comparing i t t o the E n g l i s h , 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 r o l e  s t e r e o t y p i n g where a l l u s i o n s a r e made t o feminine  incomprehen-  s i b i l i t y , v a n i t y , emotions, and d i s h o n e s t y ; t h i r d l y ,  there  i s male s t e r e o t y p i n g which exposes the d i f f e r e n c e between a man as a husband and a man as a l o v e r , and which emphasizes the r o l e o f g l o r y i n a man's s o c i a l being. Where c u l t u r a l s t e r e o t y p i n g i s concerned, p r e j u d i c e i n favour o f the French and Anne de Boulen,  i s obvious.  Mme de l a F a y e t t e ' s Both Mary S t u a r t  although c l o s e l y l i n k e d t o England,  have  been r a i s e d a t the French c o u r t and a r e admired f o r t h e i r ease w i t h the French c u l t u r e .  The author,  i n the context of d i s c u s s i n g  L  47 Anne de Boulen, s t a t e s t h a t " l e s manieres de France p l a i s e n t a toutes l e s n a t i o n s " ( p .  199)•  . . .  T h i s i s the only  real  maxim that r e f e r s to the French c u l t u r e ; the l a c k of other ments of s i m i l a r baldness I n d i c a t e s that the French was  an understood f a c t .  state-  s u p e r i o r i t y of  T h i s maxim, appearing i n  the  Mme  l a dauphlne*s account of the E n g l i s h court a t the time of Henry V I I I , i s used p r i m a r i l y to show Anne de Boulen*s q u a l i t y and p r o j e c t t h i s image onto her daughter, E l i z a b e t h :  ".  to  . . elle  n ' a v a i t aucune ressemblance avec l e s autre beautes a n g l a i s e s " (p. 199)-  I t a l s o serves as grounds f o r a comparison between  the French and E n g l i s h s o c i e t i e s , the E n g l i s h coming out on bottom because of Henry VIII who, t i o n s of the Pope on the  fulmina-  subject of h i s marriage p r a c t i c e s , "se  d e c l a r a chef de l a r e l i g i o n et e n t r a f n a toute  l ' A n g l e t e r r e dans  l e malheureux changement . . ."(p. 201).  Italians,  r e c e i v e bad t/  a f t e r r e c e i v i n g the  the  notices-  The  too,  from the members of the French c o u r t .  Vidame de C h a r t r e s , while r e c o u n t i n g  The  to Nemours h i s adventures  w i t h the Queen, s t a t e s t h a t " l a j a l o u s i e e s t n a t u r e l l e aux sonnages de  sa n a t i o n " ( p .  223).  Nemours Is amazed t h a t  per-  the  vidame would even attempt to c o u r t another lady behind the Queen's back since i t i s w e l l known that " e l l e e s t i t a l i e n n e et r e l n e , et parnconsequent p l e i n e de soupcons, de (p. 225).  I t i s the emotional aspect  j a l o u s i e , et d * o r g u e i l "  of the race t h a t 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 a c c o r d i n g gentlemen.  Neither  of them c o n s i d e r s  the g e n e r a l  to these  two  applicability  of these q u a l i t i e s to people l n c e r t a i n circumstances, and 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  per-  incon-  s t a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h women. We  have d i s c u s s e d  the  stereotyped  r o l e t h a t the  cultural  (r-^'(  48 code p r o v i d e s f o r women and how  Mme  de C h a r t r e s t r i e d to  In her daughter r e s p e c t f o r and observance of the r o l e . noteworthy, however, that men  instill It is  (M. de C l e v e s , Nemours) d e s p i t e  the r i g i d r u l e s imposed by the code, f e e l i t necessary  to make  e x p l i c i t g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about the nature and a c t i o n s of women, 13  while women v o i c e no maxims about themselves. C l e v e s , w i t h r e f e r e n c e to Mme accepted in who  v  When M.  de  de Tournon, v o i c e s the g e n e r a l l y  t r u t h , " l e s femmes sont incomprehenslbles"(p.  174)  while  the same sentence expressing h i s p l e a s u r e at having a wife 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 a l s o u n w i t t i n g l y 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 " s t a t u s , Mme  de Cleves can conduct  s e l f d i f f e r e n t l y from t h e m — t h e r e b y g i v i n g r i s e to the of  the c o n f e s s i o n .  her-  possibility  Nemours r e s p e c t s and understands the  cultural  code i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n to women and to the p r a c t i c e of g a l a n t e r l e but a l l the same he i s the a l l e g e d author of a whole s e r i e s of maxims about women and t h e i r s o c i a l conduct: —M. de Nemours trouve . . . que l e b a i e s t ce q u ' i l y a de p l u s i n s u p p o r t a b l e pour l e s amants, s o l t q u ' i l s s o i e n t aimes ou q u ' i l s ne l e s o i e n t pas. I I d i t que, s ' i l s sont aimes l i s ont l e c h a g r i n de l ' e t r e moins pendant p l u s i e u r s j o u r s ; q u ' i l n'y a p o i n t de femme que l e s o i n de sa parure n'empeche de songer a son amant; q u ' e l l e s en sont entirerement occupees; que ce s o i n de sa parure e s t pour t o u t l e monde a u s s i b i e n que pour c e l u i q u ' e l l e s aiment; que l o r s q u ' e l l e s sont au b a i , e l l e s v e u l e n t p l a i r e a tous ceux q u i l e s regardent; que, quand e l l e s sont contentes de l e u r beaute, e l l e s en ont une j o i e dont l e u r amant ne f a i t pas l a p l u s grande p a r t i e . I I d i t encore que, quand on n'est p o i n t aime, on s o u f f r e encore davantage de v o i r sa maitresse dans une assemblee; que, p l u s e l l e e s t admiree du p u b l i c , plus on se trouve malheureux de n'en e t r e p o i n t aime; que l ' o n c r a i n t t o u j o u r s que sa beaute ne f a s s e n a t t r e quelque amour p l u s heureux que l e s i e n . E n f i n 11 trouve q u ' i l n'y a p o i n t de s o u f f r a n c e 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 s a v o i r q u ' e l l e y e s t et de n'y e t r e pas. (pp. 164-65)  49 These maxims are a s c r i b e d to Nemours by M. de Conde who them to Mme  de Gleves and Mme  whether there Is any  l a dauphine.  I t i s not  repeats clear  s t r a t e g y i n v o l v e d on the p a r t of Nemours  to have these o p i n i o n s made known to Mme  de Gleves or whether  they are simply t h e o r i e s advanced by the most s u c c e s s f u l homme g a l a n t i n the group a t 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 g e n e r a l l y  accepted t r u t h s about women and about men's d e a l i n g s w i t h them as based on h i s own  experiences.  I f there i s no s t r a t e g y i n v o l v e d  i n the maxims about m i s t r e s s e s and b a l l s , there d e f i n i t e l y i s when Nemours v o i c e s another maxim r e g a r d i n g women:  "Les femmes  jugent d ' o r d i n a i r e de l a p a s s i o n qu'on a pour e l l e s  . . . par 192).  l e s o i n qu'on prend de l e u r p l a l r e e t de l e s c h e r c h e r " ( p . T h i s statement Mme  appears In the f i r s t p r i v a t e c o n v e r s a t i o n between  de Cleves and Nemours while the duke i s i n d i r e c t l y e x p l a i n i n g  h i s a c t i o n s and  emotions toward her.  T h i s maxim forms the b a s i s  f o r Nemours's u s u a l 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 o b l i g e .  But  duke uses t h i s statement  Mme  to e s t a b l i s h a c o n t r a s t between  de Cleves and the r e s t of the women he has known and t h a t he i n t e n d s to pursue her on her own Nemours's i n a b i l i t y to f o l l o w through  the  to show  very d i f f e r e n t  terms.  on h i s s t a t e d i n t e n t i o n s  demonstrates, however, t h a t h i s r e a l o p i n i o n of Mme  de  Cleves  i s t h a t she, too, i s governed by t h i s maxim. Maxims which s t e r e o t y p e male a t t i t u d e s and  "behaviour  not very common i n La P r l n c e s s e de C l e v e s , and when they  are do  appear they are not c l e a r l y s t a t e d , but must be i n f e r r e d from a statement  by one of the c h a r a c t e r s .  Mme  l a dauphine, l n r e a c -  t i o n to M. de Conde's Information about Nemours's o p i n i o n of  50 mistresses and b a l l s , makes a d i s t i n c t i o n between men who are husbands and men who are lovers:  "Comment! r e p r i t 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 l e s marls pouvaient souhaiter que  leurs femmes n'y allassent pas; mais, pour l e s amants, je n'avais jamais pense q u ' i l s pussent etre de ce sentiment"(p. 164).  The  opinion which may be Inferred from t h i s i s that husbands and lovers have d i f f e r e n t attitudes toward the reputations of t h e i r women, since the husband would f e e l i t h i s r i g h t and duty to protect his wife from amorous advances while the lover gains his s a t i s f a c t i o n from p u b l i c l y showing o f f h i s l a t e s t  conquest.  The role of the husband i s Inconsistent with the s o c i a l l y acceptable pastime of galanterle and i t has i t s own stereotype as presented by M. de Cleves i n h i s reaction to the unconventional confession:  "Que ne me lalssez-vous dans cet aveuglement tran-  q u i l l e dont jouissent tant de maris?"(p. 291).  M. de Cleves  bemoans the fact that h i s 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 t h e i r husbands of such a thing), an act that forces him to attempt to abandon the stereotyped r o l e of husband. Mme de Cleves, since she does not f i t the stereotype f o r a woman of her time, i s always searching f o r signs of similar non-conformity i n her men. D i s i l l u s i o n e d a f t e r finding that Nemours i s incapable of being content with h i s suspicions that she loves him and that he can no longer observe the appropriate s o c i a l mannerisms where she i s concerned, Mme de Cleves r e f l e c t s upon the situation and comes up with perhaps the most obvious and t r u t h f u l maxim about the men of the seventeenth-century  society:  " J ' a i eu tort de croire q u ' i l y eut un homme capable de cacher  51 ce  quiflatte  to r e s i s t  sa g l o l r e " ( p .  262). I t i s t h i s  an o p p o r t u n i t y t o shine  inability  i n conquest  o v e r women t h a t  c o n t r i b u t e s t o many o f t h e p r o b l e m s e n c o u n t e r e d throughout  b y Mme de C l e v e s  the novel.  Where t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f r o l e a n d c u l t u r a l Is concerned, cit  the  relies  cultural  o f a p p r o p r i a t e conduct primarily  (maxims), b u t Mme de l a  on t h e r e a d e r ' s  the accepted  Implicit  notions o f proper  When, o n t h e o t h e r hand, t h e a u t h o r u s u a l l y a statement  cit  r e g a r d i n g human n a t u r e ,  justify  vant  qu'il  l e s jeunes  describing society.  suffit  T h e s e maxims e x p l a i n  g o v e r n e d by t h e I m p l i -  s t a t e s t h a t " jj-a]] p l u p a r t d e s m e r e s  de ne p a r l e r  jamais  de g a l a n t e r i e d e -  the Ignorance which shrouds the l i v e s  o f women i n t h i s  She e s t a b l i s h e s t h e norm i n o r d e r t o show how n e i t h e r  c o n t a i n s no v a l u e  i ntheir  nique  accepted  p e r s o n n e s p o u r l e s e n e l o i g n e r " ( p . 137)• s h e i s  t i o n o f Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s but  a maxim, i t i s  a generally  Mme de C h a r t r e s n o r h e r d a u g h t e r c o n f o r m s t o i t . itself  behavior.  code.  When Mme de l a F a y e t t e s?imaginent  with  t h e a c t i o n s and r e a c t i o n s o f t h e c h a r a c -  i n s i t u a t i o n s which a r e n o t c l e a r l y cultural  knowledge o f  social  does present  t r u t h which a p p l i e s t o a l l s o c i a l beings.  ters  expli-  code t o d e t e r m i n e when a c e r t a i n a c t i o n a g r e e s  or contravenes  or, perhaps,  stereotypes  i t i s t h e c h a r a c t e r s o f t h e n o v e l who v o i c e  statements  Fayette  i n men  human n a t u r e  judgement a n d n e i t h e r d o e s t h e d e s c r i p innovative teachings  t o M i l e de C h a r t r e s ,  j u x t a p o s i t i o n t h e r e i s a n I n d i c a t i o n t h a t one t e c h -  i s more a c c e p t a b l e  In a sense,  The maxim  than  the other  i n the eyes o f t h e s o c i e t y .  t h i s maxim i s a statement, o f g e n e r a l s i n c e i t may be i n f e r r e d  to a v o i d touchy  Issues, hoping  truth  t h a t most p e o p l e  that a l l w i l l  about prefer  t u r n out w e l l ,  52 rather  than to confront  and expose p o s s i b l e d a n g e r s ,  t h a t a knowledge o f c o r r u p t i o n w i l l and  not l n a desire  result  the g u i d e l i n e s  is  not.  s e t o u t by t h e c u l t u r a l  The c o n f e s s i o n  two s u c h a c t i o n s w h i c h f i n d  the  heroine's  human n a t u r e .  confession, a  little  i n the novel code.  i s ruled  Some, however,  their  justification  de  Cleves  solely i n  r a t i o n a l e , which i s independent o f the c u l t u r a l  Other a c t i o n s  cerning  to resist  a n d t h e d e c l a r a t i o n made by Mme  are  code.  i n strength  to y i e l d .  Most o f t h e c o n d u c t o f t h e c h a r a t e r s by  gambling  tells  i n the novel  are explained  by maxims c o n -  When Nemours, a f t e r e a v e s d r o p p i n g o n t h e  a l l t o t h e vidame de C h a r t r e s ,  too f a r from the c u l t u r a l  he s t r a y s  code w h i c h p r o t e c t s  just  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 F a y e t t e  decorum w i t h relating sion, une  explains  away t h i s  contravention  of s o c i a l  a g e n e r a l i z i n g statement which c o n t a i n s  t o human n a t u r e :  "Ce p r i n c e  e t s i s u r p r i s de c e q u ' i l  etait  a maxim  s i rempli  a v a i t entendu, q u ' i l  de s a p a s tomba d a n s  i m p r u d e n c e a s s e z o r d i n a i r e , q u i e s t de p a r l e r e n t e r m e s  g e n e r a u x de s e s s e n t i m e n t s p a r t i c u l l e r e s e t de c o n t e r s e s propres aventures de  Chartres,  s o u s d e s noms e m p r u n t e s " ( p . 2^5).  too, transgresses  by m a k i n g p u b l i c t h e c o n t e n t s repeats  Imprudence  o f a p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n when he de M a r t i g u e s , a d d i n g h i s  t h a t Nemours i s t h e one i n v o l v e d .  i s also explained  human r e a c t i o n s : sition  t h e u n d e r s t o o d code o f c o n d u c t  t h e s t o r y t o h i s l o v e r , Mme  own s u s p i c i o n s  "L'envie  This  second  by t h e a u t h o r i n terms o f u n i v e r s a l  de s ' e c l a i r c i r ,  n a t u r e l l e que l ' o n a de r a c o n t e r  a c e que l ' o n a i m e , f i t q u ' i l  The vidame  redit  ou p l u t o t l a d i s p o -  t o u t de que l ' o n s a l t  a Mme  e x t r a o r d i n a i r e de c e t t e p e r s o n n e " ( p . 252).  de M a r t i g u e s Neither  l'acrtion  of these  53 maxims i s p r e s e n t e d a s j u s t i f i c a t i o n but  both  nature for  provide possible  and the e f f e c t s  f o r the a c t i o n - i n v o l v e d ,  reasons, based  on a k n o w l e d g e o f human  o f p a s s i o n o n human b e i n g s  such d e v i a t i o n s from  the accepted  i ngeneral,  code o f a p p r o p r i a t e  social  conduct. The results  c o n t r i b u t i o n made by l o v e t o t h e m e n t a l i n these  la Fayette. tor  Indeed,  concern  by  While  d e f i n e d by Mme de  emotions  M. de C l e v e s i s a s s e s s i n g h i s  o f g a i n i n g t h e h a n d o f M i l e de C h a r t r e s , he i s h e l d b a c k que donne 1*amour" a n d he f i n d s  s h i p w i t h t h e c h e v a l i e r de G u i s e  de  which  most o f t h e maxims p r e s e n t e d by t h e n a r r a -  involved.  " l a timidite  since  i sclearly  t h e e f f e c t s o f l o v e and I t s accompanying  on t h e p e o p l e chances  rash declarations  imbalance  they each  Chartres.  realize  that  the other  Within the realm  finds  this  circumstance  of  eloignement  quite  i s becoming  that  increasingly  i salso  remote  pursuing Mile  o f human r e a c t i o n s , logical,  his friend-  explaining  the author i t i n terms  que d o n n e n t l e s memes p r e t e n t i o n s " ( p .  l4l).  These a r e n o t , p r e c i s e l y  s p e a k i n g , maxims, b u t t h e y a r e n o n e t h e - v ;  less  of generally  explicit  statements  l o v e a n d human n a t u r e . maxims.  I n both  Innocence  to another—Nemours  each  second  tout  ce q u ' i l  n'avait avec  t o Mme  une v e r i t e  propre  to explain h i s  de C l e v e s , Mme de C l e v e s  p o i n t de p a r t a c e t t e  tant d'assurance,  with  which  "M. de Nemours l u i d i t e n c o r e  a l a persuader;  agreable,  about  i n two b r i e f  t h e a u t h o r comments o n t h e e a s e  party i s convinced: crut  truths  i s mentioned  cases a character i s t r y i n g  t o M. de C l e v e s — a n d  aisement  Truth i t s e l f  accepted  e t , comme o n  11 c o n v a i n q u i t Mme lettre"(p230);  et l averite  de C l e v e s  "Elle  se p e r s u a d e  persuade qu'il  l u i parla  s i aisement  meme q u ' e l l e n ' e s t p a s v r a i s e m b l a b l e , que M. de C l e v e s f u t  lors  54 presque convaincu de son Innocence"(p.  293)•  There Is a d i s -  t i n c t i o n between une v e r i t e agreable and l a v e r i t e invraisemblable which may be expressed in;terms of the second party's willingness or hesitation to accept the truth as i t i s presented, but Mme de l a 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 a p p l i c a b i l i t y of Mme de l a Fayette's maxims i s indicated i n 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 p a r l e r a ceux qui l e s aiment"(p. 2*4-5).  This  i s stated, i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, i n r e l a t i o n to Mme l a dauphine who i s the object of M. d'Anville's admiration, but i t could just as e a s i l y 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  f a c t that Mme de Cleves i s not une personne galante or at least that she t r i e s not to be one since she does not enjoy the attent i o n she gets from Nemours nor does she search out excuses to t a l k to him.  Mme de Cleves i s constantly encountering d i f f i c u l -  t i e s due to her r e f u s a l to participate i n a f f a i r s 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 c o n f l i c t i s summed up by another of  Mme de l a Fayette's maxims:  "Les paroles les plus obscures  d'un homme qui p l a f t donnent plus d'agitation que des declarations ouvertes d'un homme qui ne p l a f t pas"(p. 193).  The a f f e c -  t i o n which Mme de Cleves f e e l s f o r Nemours makes her p a r t i c u l a r l y  55 susceptible to his rhetoric and to any a l l u s i o n that might be made to the existence  of some l i a i s o n between them.  Mme  de l a  Payette, i n giving a universally understood source f o r the predicament, succeeds l n establishing Mme  de Cleves's lack of  immunity to reactions that are rooted i n 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 r e l a t i o n ship between men i n t h i s society.  and women and the nature of love as i t exists We have already  Nemours d i s t i n g u i s h Mme  seen how  M. de Cleves and  de Cleves from the rest of the women  of her time by excepting her from inclusion i n t h e i r own maxims. Some of the generalizing statements that are presented l n the narration also indicate that c e r t a i n other characters exemplify the c u l t u r a l norm.  When Mme  do not  de l a Fayette speaks of  the King's jealousy i n the l i g h t of a suspected amorous a f f a i r between Mme  de Valentinois and M. de Brissac, marechal de France,  she Indicates that t h i s emotion i n the King i s not demonstrated in the commonly expected manner:  "La jalousie du r o i augmenta  neanmolns d'une t e l l e sorte q u ' i l ne put s o u f f r i r que  ce marechal  demeurat a l a cour; mais l a j a l o u s i e , qui est aigre et vlolente en tous l e s autres, est douce et moderee en l u i par 1'extreme respect q u ' i l a pour sa maftresse"(p. l 6 l ) . gives valuable  This statement  informatiosi about the King's personality which  supports the o r i g i n a l 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 generality  expressed  i n M. de C l e v e s ' s r e a c t i o n t o h i s  v i e w o f M i l e de C h a r t r e s :  "11 s ' a p e r c u t  que s e s r e g a r d s l ' e m -  barrassalent,  c o n t r e 1 ' o r d i n a i r e des jeunes personnes  t o u j o u r s avec  plaisir  reader r e a l i z e s , from  l'effet  first,  h e r contemporaries  de l e u r b e a u t e " ( p .  all  in  distinguished  statement  contains a  specific  t h e r e a c t i o n w h i c h may be e x p e c t e d themselves  receiving  admiring  from glances  young men. The  and  The  o n t h e b a s i s o f h e r r e a c t i o n t o M. de  young women who f i n d  from  quivoient  138).  t h a t Mme de C l e v e s i s b e i n g  C l e v e s , and s e c o n d l y , t h a t t h i s g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about  first  e f f e c t s o f t h e p a s s i o n e x p e r i e n c e d b y b o t h Mme de C l e v e s  Nemours a r e c l e a r l y some c i r c u m s t a n c e s  shown i n t h e e v e n t s o f t h e n o v e l , b u t  the particular  l o v e and t h e accompanying indicated  outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n s o f  emotions f e l t  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  e f f e c t s of love i n a seventeenth-century initial  by t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e  r e a c t i o n t o Mme de C l e v e s  the n a t u r e and  context.  Nemours's  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:  est  p o u r e l l e une  vrai aussi  que, comme M. de Nemours s e n t a i t  inclination violente,  q u i l u i d o n n a i t 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 p r e m i e r s d e s i r s de p l a i r e , encore que,  plus aimable  se v o y a n t  qu'il  souvent,  y a v a i t de p l u s p a r f a i t ne  "II  i l etait  n ' a v a l t accoutume de l ' e t r e ;  e t se v o y a n t a l a cour,  l'un et l'autre  i l etait d i f f i c i l e  s e 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  de s o r t e  ce q u ' i l qu'ils  o f p a s s i o n on  Nemours i s s p e c i f i c where t h e m a g n i t u d e a n d n a t u r e o f h i s emot i o n s , and nature  changes i n h i s b e h a v i o r a r e concerned.  o f the f o r c e which has caused  The a c t u a l  t h e s e r e a c t i o n s i s , however,  g e n e r a l i z e d , a s i s t h e s p e c u l a t e d outcome o f t h e a d v e n t u r e .  57 Again, it  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  appears  t o be  commonnknowledge t h a t  someone c a n r e s u l t ality—Nemours's The  fatalism  i n at least  strong desires  superficial  passion inspires  i n h e r e n t In the l a s t  i n him  society?  q u a l i t y a r e exposed t o each m u t u a l p l e a s u r e and The seen  ride  d e s i r e b e t w e e n them I s  episodes of the n o v e l  the  reason.  s t r e n g t h and  Other  declaration  i n w h i c h Mme  faire"(p.  309)•  de  encountered  s i p l e i n de  enfin,  p a s s i o n p l e i n e de  de  joie,  cralnte  universally  Gleves the  are  imprudence  to  over-  w  g e n e r a l l y (though  presumes t h a t accepted  by  Cleves.  The  The  b e t w e e n them e n d s l e temps  Nemours i s f o u n d  de  by  the  t r o u v e r M.  trlstesse,  d'etonnement  que  peut  qu'il  e f f e c t s of t h i s  same t i m e ,  both  specifically  concur with  t r u t h which Is i m p l i e d .  the  de  donner  n'avait  i m p r e c i s e l y ) d e f i n e d by  the r e a d e r w i l l  pourra  "II revint  et d'esperance,  h o p e f u l emotion a r e , a t the  a u t h o r who  de  ce que  tous l e s sentiments  l a r a i s o n ( p . 309).  Nemours and  by Mme  "Attendez  s t a t e of emotion:  by  de  to Coulommiers) which  of a marriage  vidame i n a c o n f u s e d  and  Mme  C l e v e s r e v e a l s h e r l o v e f o r Nemours  always o p t i m i s t i c  l ' u s a g e de  of  inevitable.  (the l e t t e r ,  The  et d'admiration,  in  incomparable  e x p e r i e n c e d t o some e x t e n t  f o r Nemours:  Nemours, q u i e t a i t  of  power o f l o v e w h i c h t e n d s  then d e n i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y  on a h o p e f u l n o t e  interaction  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f l o v e a r e c o n f u s i o n and  Nemours, a r e p r e d o m i n a n t l y  une  people  quotation  other constantly, a reaction  mixed emotions which, although  and  of the  social  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  demonstrate  to please  g e n t l e n e s s and g a i e t y .  r e s u l t s o f Nemours's p a s s i o n t o w a r d  i n several  after  when two  and  changes i n p e r s o n -  statement  p o i n t s out a n o t h e r g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about seventeenth-century  violent,  pas  fearful exhibited the  58 Where Mme de Gleves Is concerned, confusion i s her usual state of mind when she r e f l e c t s upon her involvement with Nemours. From the beginning, Mme de Gleves has problems dealing with the c o n f l i c t between pleasure and duty, and Nemours notices t h i s with ease:  ". . . i l aimait l a plus aimable personne de l a  cour? 11 s'en f a i s a i t aimer malgre e l l e , 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 i s not accomplished i n the f i n e a r t of d u p l i c i t y and s o c i a l lovemaking because I t i s a generally understood fact that young and inexperienced people would have d i f f i c u l t y coping with the powerf u l effects of passion.  I t i s also generally accepted that the  presence of someone toward whom and individual i s kindly disposed i s a source of pleasure f o r that i n d i v i d u a l . no exception to t h i s r u l e :  Mme de Cleves Is  "Mme de Cleves demeura seule, et  s i t o t qu'elle ne fut plus soutenue par cette joie que donne l a presence de ce que l'on aime, e l l e 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 i n the l i g h t of a r e turning sense of duty and s o c i a l 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? (p. 237). w  So conditioned i s Mme de  Cleves by her mother's presentation of the nature of love and galanterle i n their s o c i a l aspect that, f o r her, any p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n either of these practices can only have negative r e s u l t s — only regret and unhappiness can come from u n f a i t h f u l  conduct.  59 Reactions,  Defence, and S t r a t e g y  We h a v e s e e n how t h e v a r i o u s c h a r a c t e r s a r e a f f e c t e d by the  implicit  cultural  c e r t a i n aspects ims  code a n d how t h e y  of i t to achieve  which appear i n the n o v e l  their  provide  attempt t o  personal goals. support  t i o n s of the i m p l i c i t  code b y f u r n i s h i n g  about r o l e s ,  a n d human n a t u r e  conduct,  manipulate The max-  f o r the p r e s c r i p -  explicit  statements  i n general.  Although  Mme  de l a F a y e t t e p u t s many o f t h e s e maxims i n h e r 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  of  life  is  c h a r a c t e r i z e d by u n d e r l y i n g  in  r e a c t i o n to circumstances  defence  i n the seventeenth  century.  strategy.  dictated  They a r e s t a t e d  by t h e c u l t u r a l  o f an i n d i v i d u a l ' s a c t i o n s , o r i n an attempt  ments c o n t a i n a g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t e d o r about t h e nature  of l i f e  I n every  seventeenth  century  and love i n t h i s  i s the p r a c t i c e  c e s s i t a t e d by t h e s t r i c t s o c i a l behavior. maintains  code, i n t o have a n -  these  state-  society.  of social  life  l n the  of d u p l i c i t y which i s ne-  requirements  o f t h e code o f a p p r o p r a i t e  An i n d i v i d u a l may do a s he p l e a s e s a s l o n g a s  a veneer o f 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 .  de C h a r t r e s ' s p e r s p i c a c i t y where t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n  reality  and i l l u s i o n  daughter:  i s concerned  i s shown i n h e r comments t o h e r  " S i vous j u g e r s u r l e s apparences en ce  r e p o n d i t Mme  de C h a r t r e s , v o u s s e r e z s o u v e n t  paralt n'est  presque pas l a v e r i t e " ( p .  being  young a n d i n e x p e r i e n c e d  lieu,  reacts instinctively  the  case  either  t r u t h a b o u t human r e a c t i o n s  One o f t h e most c o n f u s i n g a s p e c t s  Mme  aspects  T h i s s e c o n d g r o u p o f maxims  other character modify h i s behavior.  he  some  157).  lieu-ci,  trompee:  ce q u i  M i l e de C h a r t r e s ,  i n t h e w o r k i n g s ^of h e r s o c i a l m i ^  t o appearances and does n o t r e a l i z e  importance o f examining the a c t i o n s o f others 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 h e r d a u g h t e r ' s  to a dangerous c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f s o c i a l the  y o u n g e r woman i n t o a b a d c h o i c e  appearances. Chartres esty  This  since  that  of a l l i e s  based on f a u l t y  she h a s b e e n I n v e s t e d  with a strong  sense o f hon-  corrupt  society.  I t i s not u n t i l  i n this  she r e a l i z e s  even h e r husband advocates and p r a c t i c e s d u p l i c i t y confession)  the  wide s c o p e a n d i n e v i t a b i l i t y  t h a t Mme de C l e v e s r e a l l y  a c t i o n s , a t which p o i n t dual,  cannot l i v e The  nature of love  of dishonesty  people o f the court  inlife,  finds himself  o f h i s amorous i n t e r e s t s .  but  the f i n a l  r e s u l t s of his passion  j e s e r a i aime de l a p l u s  do n o t f o l l o w  pne  i s loved.  his  actions  actions  Nemours i s n o t c o n d i t i o n e d  than pleasure  true  certitudes maltrafte!"  t o expect t h a t  c a n r e s u l t from t h e knowledge  His incredulity a t discovering  f i t t h e r o l e o f a man i n h i s  o f t h e woman i n v o l v e d  t o forms  a i m a b l e p e r s o n n e d u monde e t j e  a i m e que p o u r mieux s e n t i r l a d o u l e u r d ' e t r e  other  Through  t h e symptoms o f l o v e ,  c e t e x c e s d'amour que d o n n e n t l e s p r e m i e r e s  284-85).  caught  s i t u a t i o n where h i s k n o w l e d g e a n d t e c h n i q u e s  t r a i n i n g a n d e x p e r i e n c e he r e c o g n i z e s  thing  appreciation  Nemours, f o r whom a m b i t i o n a n d  his  (pp.  emotion on t h e  are a direct result of their  h a v e no e f f e c t o n t h e o b j e c t  d'etre  as an i n d i v i -  i n the c o u r t l y s o c i e t y i s determined  g a l a n t e r i e a r e the animating f o r c e s  n'aural  she,  inter-  conditions.  of and adherence t o t h e code.  an uncomfortable  i n social  she a l s o r e a l i z e s t h a t  under these  (after  comes t o a p p r e c i a t e  t h e c u l t u r a l code, and the e f f e c t s o f t h i s  "Quoi!  trap  I n f o r m a t i o n d o e s n o t s i t w e l l w i t h M i l e de  the  in  which c o u l d  and s i n c e r i t y which g o v e r n h e r approach t o l i f e  comparatively  by  life  eyes  that,  social  anythat  although  position, the  do n o t f i t t h e e x p e c t e d  behavior  61 pattern, rectly  i s expressed  s t a t e s the  cultural  as  social  norm d e f i n e d  by  strictly  i n d i c a t e d by  m'a  toujours  et  j ' a v a l s eu  on  the  the  code o f a p p r o p r i a t e  vidame de  Chartress  t r a £ t e a v e c b e a u c o u p de l i e u de  n e a n m o i n s , i l n'y  respect"(p. de  croire  distinction  q u ' e l l e a v a i t de  a v a i t r i e n de  217).  Chartres  lover.  particulier,  His  sense of  Queen i s n o t  l a bonte pour et  je n'avals que  i n d i v i d u a l can  tive  nature of  have d i f f e r e n t in  the  {j'eusse  une  repentalt c'etait q u i on  ( p . 217). relating  letters  confiance]  toujours  une  regarding  d'en  "Je  p a r l e r , et  The  v i d a m e and  dis qu'il  avoir  . . . .  i n him  speaking from p e r s o n a l  j e t r o u v a l s que L a r e i n e me  about the experience  restric-  Queen  the  confession. about the  the  son  rang" of of  secret  Queen i s and  que  quelqu'un  element  The  roles  se  pitfalls  an  betrays  l'on  qui  dit . . .  d'avoir  t o the  contains  himself  desires  a v a i t p e r s o n n e en  maxim r e l a t i n g  e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e he  Nemours c o n f i d e s  n'y  need f o r  reported  p o u r l e s p e r s o n n e s de  one's s e c r e t s t o a c o n f i d a n t  credibility,  the  she  Nemours d u r i n g  d a n s l a v i e , que  surtout  M-.V."de C h a r t r e s ' s  vidame and  t h i s p r a c t i c e , as  e n t i e r e ; que  chose n e c e s s a i r e  put  code.  between the  Queen's  his secret  understandable by-product of the  cultural  opinions  conversation  episode of the  a  the  confide  ja-  permit  the  The  moi;  du  l o o k i n g f o r a l o v e r , but  such people  f r u s t r a t i o n s i s an  ceux  m i g h t a s p i r e t o be  e n t i r e l y devoted confidant.  i n whom a n  con-  l a reine  s o c i a l decorum d o e s n o t  t o presume t h a t he  Indeed, the  court  e t d'agrement,  d o e s s e e k a s e c r e t and  and  implicit  social  "...  m a i s songe a a v o i r d ' a u t r e s s e n t i m e n t s p o u r e l l e  M.  the  n a t u r e o f r e l a t i o n s h i p s between p e o p l e a t the  based very  duct  accepted  indi-  code.  The is  i n t h i s g e n e r a l i z i n g statement which  that  62 requirements that are thrust upon individuals "by the c u l t u r a l code and how  these prescriptions define a need for a private  means of purging the emotions that b u i l d 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 e f f e c t s of love are concerned i s admirable» "On ne peut se f i e r a ceux qui ^sont amoureux]; on ne peut de leur secret.  s'assurer  I l s sont trop d i s t r a i t s 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 i n love i s a danger to the Queen whose private confidlngs  must necessarily remain secret f o r both s o c i a l and reasons.  political  The maxim here presented i s a statement of general  truth about the power that love can exert over normally r a t i o n a l people, and i t supports the picture of love that i s i m p l i c i t l y presented throughout the novel. A r a t i o n a l and l o g i c a l approach to l i f e does not appear to be one of the aims of the c u l t u r a l code, although i t i s a desired state of mind f o r some of the characters.  When M. de Gleves i s  subjected to h i s wife's confession of outside amorous i n t e r e s t s , his reactions are anticipated, i f not prescribed by the rules of the c u l t u r a l code-r-jealousy,  fury, i r r a t i o n a l i t y — b u t  t r i e s to f i g h t these reactions with reason and calmness. recognizies h i s powerless positioni  he He  ". . . l a consideration  d'un mari n'empeche pas que l'on s o i t amoureux de sa femme" (p. 242).  M. de Cleves's maxim i s a statement about the impo-  tence of s o c i a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s and t h e i r t r a d i t i o n s i n the face of basic human drives, and i t echoes h i s early r e a l i z a t i o n that marriage does not necessarily engender the emotions that should, usually, precede i t s  "La qualite de marl l u i donna de  63 plus grands p r i v i l e g e s ; mais e l l e ne l u i donna pas une autre place dans l e coeur de sa femme"(p. 151)'  M. de Cleves i s un-  usually perceptive f o r what appears to be the normal male of the seventeenth century.  When, on h i s deathbed, he pronounces h i s  parting speech to Mme  de Cleves, M. de Cleves makes two  ments about human nature that are hidden i n admonitions h i s wife's conducts  "...  stateabout  vous regretterez quelque jour un homme  qui vous almait d'une passion v e r i t a b l e et legitime.  Vous sen-  t i r e z l e chagrin que trouvent l e s personnes raisonnables dans ces engagements, et vous connaftrez l a difference d'etre almee, comme je vous aimals, a l ' e t r e par des gens qui, en vous temoignant de 1'amour, ne cherchent que l'honneur de vous seduire" (p. 291).  M. de Cleves i s i d e a l i z i n g when he refers to des  personnes raisonnables, f o r the practice of galanterie and the importance and power accorded to love combine to eliminate the p o s s i b i l i t y of any r a t i o n a l approach to relationships between men  and women.  Furthermore, f o r a man to make such a clear  d i s t i n c t i o n between the two types of love and to openly state h i s conclusions on the topic i n front of a woman demonstrates, i f not a breach of s o c i a l decorum, at least the potential f o r contravention of the c u l t u r a l code.  M. de Cleves suffers no  consequences from t h i s unconventional openness; h i s death prevents him from dealing with the r e s u l t s of i t .  His purpose,  however, i s not just to shock h i s wife or to declare h i s feelings toward her.  M. de Cleves i s simply trying to expose two aspects  of basic human nature i n the hope that h i s wife w i l l be able to p r o f i t from h i s 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 s o c i a l  64 conduct and human nature.  The characters also use maxims  (which, f o r the most part, support the i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code) as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n or a defence of t h e i r 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 i n an a f f a i r .  By  voicing a generalizing statement about expected conduct, a character may  show that h i s conduct does not f i t the pattern  and, therefore, that he cannot be the one i n question. Mme l a dauphine uses t h i s technique e f f e c t i v e l y 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 c e r t a i n l y understand t h i s  p o s s i b i l i t y , 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 c e l l e s qui  l e s causent; e l l e s s'en apercoivent l e s premieres"(p. 190).  The  dauphlne knows that were she the object of Nemours's a f f e c t i o n , she would be very aware of I t . Since she has noticed no s i g n i f i c a n t demonstrations toward her on the part of Nemours, she can be very sure that she i s not the one involved.  It i s 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  t a l k about Nemours, a reaction which i l l u s t r a t e s the applicab i l i t y of the maxim. Both Mme  de Cleves and her husband use maxims regarding  commonly expected s o c i a l behavior i n an attempt to prove t h e i r innocence as to who made public the fact and contents of the confession.  Mme  de Cleves makes a generalizing statement about  the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of "extraordinary" women and about the expec-  65  t e d r e a c t i o n o f a man " I I n'y  a pas  ne  a c o n f e s s i o n m i g h t be  d ' a p p a r e n c e qu'une femme, c a p a b l e  extraordinaire, mari  t o whom s u c h  eut  l'aurait  l a f a i b l e s s e de  raconte  non  d'une c h o s e s i  l a r a c o n t e r ; apparement  p l u s , ou c e  serait  un m a r i  i n d i g n e du p r o c e d e que  l'on auralt  eu avec l u i " ( p .  has  t h a t Mme  C l e v e s may  not been suspected  the a f f a i r  i n question,  her  innocence.  the  fact  this  so i t i s n o t r e a l l y  Nonetheless,  t h a t i t would take  type  de  o f a c t i o n and  Mme  de  a very  Cleves unusual  the  Since  she  does not  i n any  manner w h i c h w o u l d i n d i c a t e  Mme  Cleves  Her  p i c i o n t h a t M.  any  de  in  the  same way  de  hint  of  involvement  "A-t-on un ami r e p r i t M.  a  sus-  de  the  culprit.  When c o n f r o n t e d  the  a u monde a q u i on v o u l u t f a i r e Cleves,  et voudrait-on  concepts  The  o n l y w o u l d t h e woman be  telle ses  l'on souhaiterait  maxim i n h e r e n t  o f d e c e n c y and  He  in  these  self-esteem. i n d i g n e on  t h e knowledge o f h i s w i f e ' s  as w e l l as from h i m s e l f .  une  eclalrcir  Cleves d i s t i n g u i s h e s h i m s e l f from the mari  b a s i s of wanting to hide  position  t o h i s w i f e ' s knowledge o f human  soi-meme?"(p. 259).  f r o m the whole w o r l d  in unspeclfic  Cleves defends h i s innocent  by a p p e a l i n g  questions deals with de  herself  i s extraordinary,  s o u p g o n s a u p r i x d ' a p p r e n d r e a q u e l q u ' u n c e que  M.  defined  i n d i c a t i o n o f the awakening  C l e v e s m i g h t be  t h i s a c c u s a t i o n , M.  se c a c h e r  would  i k  by  de  establish  conduct  about the husband i s e x p r e s s e d  i t d o e s c o n t a i n an  confidence,  to  p r a c t i c e s as  »  nature:  proving  episode.  statement  terms, but  a matter of  openly  t h a t she  s u c c e e d s i n c o v e r i n g up  i n the a c t u a l  involved i n  t h a t t o make p u b l i c s u c h a g e s t u r e  by  de  It  woman t o engage i n  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 code.  be  son  bien  257)*  i s trying  be  cultural  made:  infidelity  knows t h a t  subjected to p u b l i c censure,  the  but  he,  not too,  66  w o u l d be r i d i c u l e d  for his Inability  t o c o n t r o l and t o s a t i s f y  her. A f t e r h e r husband's death, Nemours's a d v a n c e s w i t h o u t can  effectively  prohibit  Mme de C l e v e s  i sleft  the p r o t e c t i o n o f a s o c i a l  c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h him.  code does n o t a l l o w f o r a n u n a t t a c h e d  t o combat role  which  The c u l t u r a l  woman t o r e s i s t  the a t t e n -  t i o n s o f men a s Mme de C l e v e s r e s i s t s Nemours a t t h e e n d o f t h e n o v e l , a n d t h e r e f o r e Mme de C l e v e s h a s t o f i n d justifying  h e r a c t i o n s and d e c i s i o n s .  some means o f  The c o n v e r s a t i o n w h i c h  t a k e s p l a c e between Nemours a n d Mme de C l e v e s  i n t h e vidame's  a p p a r t m e n t s i s a c o n t r a v e n t i o n o f t h e c u l t u r a l code w h i c h d o e s not  condone p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n s b e t w e e n men a n d women who a r e n o t  married for  o r otherwise  t h e candor  related.  N e i t h e r i s t h e r e any p r o v i s i o n  w i t h w h i c h Mme de C l e v e s d e c l a r e s h e r s e l f  t o Ne-  mours; o f t h i s Mme de C l e v e s i s w e l l aware, a s she i n d i c a t e s i n her .  opening  statements:  . . je l e f e r a l  avec  "Puisque  vous v o u l e z  une s l n c e r i t e  que v o u s t r o u v e r e z  ment d a n s l e s p e r s o n n e s de mon s e x e ( p . w  invokes h e r uniqueness  que j e v o u s p a r l e  301).  malaise-  Mme de C l e v e s  i n c o m p a r i s o n t o t h e o t h e r women o f h e r  s o c i a l group as a defense  f o r unconventional  actions.  The d e -  c l a r a t i o n c o n t a i n s Mme de C l e v e s ' s r e s o l u t i o n s t o h a v e no f u r t h e r contact with Nemours—resolutions h e r new r o l e  which a r e n o t c o n s i s t e n t w i t h  a s a widowed l a d y a t t h e c o u r t .  r u l e s of the c u l t u r a l  According  to the  c o d e , she i s f r e e , a f t e r a s u i t a b l e  period  o f m o u r n i n g , t o engage i n amorous e n d e a v o r s a n d a f f a i r s o f galanterie  and, indeed,  she w o u l d be s t r o n g l y e n c o u r a g e d t o  e n t e r t a i n t h e a d v a n c e s o f s u c h a man a s Nemours.  But again  Mme  de C l e v e s c h o o s e s a n u n c o n v e n t i o n a l  o p t i o n and j u s t i f i e s  her  c h o i c e 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 n a t u r e  and l o v e :  67. M a i s 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 d a n s c e s engagements e t e r n e l s ? D o i s - j e e s p e r e r u n m i r a c l e e n ma f a v e u r e t p u i s - j e me m e t t r e e n e t a t de v o i r c e r t a i n e m e n t f i n i r c e t t e p a s s i o n d o n t j e f e r a i s t o u t e ma f e l i c i t e ? M. de G l e v e s e t a i t p e u t - e t r e 1'unique homme d u monde c a p a b l e d e c o n s e r v e r de 1*amour dans l e m a r i a g e . Ma d e s t i n e e n ' a p a s v o u l u que j ' a i e p u p r o f i t e r de c e b o n h e u r ; p e u t - e t r e a u s s i que s a p a s s i o n n ' a v a i t s u b s i s t e que p a r c e q u ' i l n'en a u r a l t p a s t r o u v e e n moi. Mais j e n ' a u r a i s p a s l e meme moyen de c o n s e r v e r l a v o t r e r j e c r o i s meme que l e s o b s t a c l e s o n t f a i t v o t r e C o n s t a n c e , ( p . 306) Mme de C l e v e s d o e s n o t s e e t h a t t h e p a s s i o n s w h i c h may l e a d t o marriage and  she i s s u r e  based on the final  canl a s t  the duration of the relationship,  t h a t Nemours s i n f a t u a t i o n w i t h her 1  o b s t a c l e s which separate  c o n q u e s t more v a l u e  f o r the  ous  and demanding.  for  Mme de C l e v e s t o r e j e c t  But, to  a t the  Although  t h a t t h e h u n t was r i g o r -  the p o s s i b i l i t y  she r e t i r e s  of marrying  there  site.  The d a n g e r o f d e f e n d i n g  o b s t a c l e w h i c h f e e d s Ne* think that  she c a n  long.  i s another  aspect  t o them w h i c h c a n p r o v e t h e o p p o oneself toostrongly i s  expressed  a g e n e r a l i z a t i o n p r o p o s e d b y M. d e Conde w h i l e d i s c u s s i n g  Nemours's maxims a b o u t m i s t r e s s e s a n d b a l l s : M. de Nemours, Madame . . . e t i l d e f e n d cause q u ' i l  soutient qu'il  quand e l l e  est au b a i , tant i l trouve  dispute  l a sienne.  q u i l u i donne de  c h e u s e p o u r u n amant, que d'y v o i r this  "L'on  contre  a v e c t a n t de c h a l e u r  f a u t que c e s o i t  c r o i s qu*.il a quelque maftresse  And  life  maxims may be u s e d t o s u b s t a n t i a t e a c l a i m o f i n n o -  cence,  la  basis  Nemours.  from a c t i v e s o c i a l  s i n c e h'e*really does not  a b i d e by h e r d e c i s i o n f o r v e r y  in  fact  she i s c r e a t i n g a n o t h e r  mours's p a s s i o n ,  them, t h u s g i v i n g t h e  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  same t i m e , a s  a v o i d him,  i s partly  Je  1'inquietude  que c ' e s t une c h o s e fa-?  l a personne q u ' i l  a i m e " ( p . 164).  i s n o t t h e o n l y t i m e t h a t Nemours's t o n e a n d i n s i s t e n c e  g i v e s away h i s i n v o l v e m e n t  i n a supposedly  ficticious  adventure,  68 f o r when he avec  tells  t a n t de  the  chaleur  vidame a b o u t t h e e t avec t a n t  s o u p c o n n a a i s e m e n t que 2^5-46).  (pp.  generally  cette histoire  I t i s w e l l known t h a t  exemplify  tive  of  of  the  that  the  and  they can  W h i l e most o f r u l e s of  cing  the  de  get  to  influence  the the  the  tentions d i f f e r de  social  ideas gers  a character's  s e e n how  t o scheme and  denials into  s c h e m i n g has cultural  laid  the  t o do  b e h a v i o r o f Mme g r e a t l y where t h e  and  s p e a k i n g o f men  be  n a t u r e and  in living to her  on  t h e i r dishonesty,  ".  . . elle  i t i s f o r most  observing their  women and  de  Chartres  statements i n an  Cleves,  Mile  although  de  heeded.  d a u g h t e r , Mme  m o t h e r has  s c h e m i n g , and  l u i c o n t a i t l e peu  de  in-  upbringing  of  Is  Chartres their  s i n c e r i t e des  exposed  social morals  very d e f i n i t e  about the  s o c i e t y of the de  attempt  their  Chartres  c o n d u c t o f women, and close  and  v i r t u e i s concerned.  their actions,  The  rules  influen-  c o u r t ) , a l l of which c o n t a i n  i n the  their  the  circumvent  i t i s aimed a t B o t h Mme  so  society.  with t r y i n g to  prlncesse's  daughter.  indicasocial  s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s t o the  (marriage, the  involved  de  does  their actions  down by  maxims o r g e n e r a l i z i n g  which should  important  still  c o d e , some o f  t r a i n i n g of her  about the  conduct  w i t h common  t o p l a n out  what t h e y want w h i l e  Chartres's  institutions advice  insistent  Nemours f a l l s  i n dealing  have a l r e a d y  t o d e s c r i p t i o n s o f men  and  how  s o c i a l conduct as  Nemours use  Mme  and  conduct of another c h a r a c t e r .  M.  and  we  characters  of appropriate  the  and  prince"  s o c i a l norm i s , t o a c e r t a i n e x t e n t ,  some n e e d f o r s t r a t e g y  situations,  l e vidame  r e g a r d a i t ce loud  l a conta  his talent for rhetoric.  U s i n g maxims t o i l l u s t r a t e not  "il  d ' a d m i r a t i o n que  i n d i c a t e a degree of g u i l t ,  trap despite  confession,  court.  danWhen  concentrates  unfaithfulness: hommes, l e u r s  69 tromperies is  et leur  cautioned  infidelite  . . . " ( p . 137).  M i l e de C h a r t r e s  about " l e s malheurs domestiques ou plongent  engagements" a n d i s e n c o u r a g e d t o a v o i d a n y h i n t de  galanterie".  cording  The d a u g h t e r ' s  i s advised against doing  bad  ones  v i r t u o u s r e p u t a t i o n should, a c -  anything  which might g i v e h e r a  ". . . j e v o u s c o n s e i l l e d ' e v l t e r , a u t a n t  pourrez,  de l u i p a r l e r ,  e t s u r t o u t en p a r t i c u l i e r ,  Mme  l a dauphine vous t r a f t a n t  tot  que v o u s e t e s l e u r c o n f i d a n t e , e t v o u s s a v e z  comme e l l e  reputation est desagreable"(pp. statement  i s t o gently separate  between t h e two. statement  parce que,  on d i r a i t  bien-  comblen c e t t e  The r e a l  intent  behind  Nemours f r o m h e r d a u g h t e r ,  the beginnings  of a galanterie  But t h i s does n o t d i m i n i s h the v a l u e  Mme de C h a r t r e s ' s  of the  strategy i n a l l her teachings  t o p r o t e c t h e r daughter from f a l l i n g 172) i n t o u n v l r t u o u s  fairs.  que v o u s  a b o u t t h e i m p o r t a n c e w h i c h s o c i e t y p l a c e s upon a woman  reputation.  (p.  fait,  168-69).  s i n c e Mme de C h a r t r e s r e c o g n i z e s  is  "aventure  t o Mme de C h a r t r e s , be h e r most p r i z e d p o s s e s s i o n , a n d  she  this  o f an  les  conduct  "comme l e s a u t r e s femmes"  and a p a s s i o n f o r i l l i c i t a f -  E v e n t h o u g h 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 a b o u t human n a t u r e  a r e based on h e r  o b s e r v a t i o n s o f t h e s o c i e t y i n w h i c h she l i v e s . Due  t o the nature  surprising  of his role  o f homme g a l a n t , i t i s n o t  t h a t t h e m a j o r i t y o f Nemours's maxims  male-female r e l a t i o n s h i p s and t h e nature milieu.  Nor i s i t s u r p r i s i n g  to find  concern  of love i n h i s  t h a t almost  a l l o f them  c o n t a i n a n u n d e r l y i n g s t r a t e g y which aims a t having consent  t o being h i s lover.  Scheming  f o r dramatic  Mme de S i e v e  i s an I n t e g r a l part o f  Nemours's make-up w h i c h , when combined w i t h h i s prowess and t a l e n t  social  rhetorical  g e s t u r e s , a l l o w s him t o t u r n  70  any  g e n e r a l l y accepted  applicable waiting  to himself  maxim i n t o a s t a t e m e n t w h i c h I s o r t o Mme  i m p a t i e n t l y f o r Mme  de  de  Cleves.  Cleves  directly  Nemours, who  to return to society  h e r m o t h e r ' s d e a t h , u s e s a maxim t o e q u a t e h i s c u r r e n t mind t o  t h a t o f Mme  de  Cleves  and  to  introduce  d e c l a r a t i o n of h i s f e e l i n g s toward h e r : et  l e s passions  l'esprit"(p. with  Mme  de  He  has  C l e v e s - ' and  d e s c r i p t i o n where t h e  to e l i c i t  i n g s f o r him.  He  of her  rescued  the  strength  Nemours comes t o r e a l i z e  devotion  his  being  to duty  ( h e r h u s b a n d ) , he  upon g e n t l e m a n i p u l a t i o n goal.  Toward t h e  end  of  of the  long prominently,  i n d i c a t e her de  o n l y by  the  novel,  i n d i c a t i o n o f Nemours's d a r i n g  d i s c u s s i o n of the  feel-  Cleves  the  arrival  Realizing his guilt  build  Mme  de  been the  one  who  jalousie  . . . et l a c u r i o s i t e  Cleves's made t h e  257).  are  contains  Since  less  takes  of  thinking.  place  during  j e a l o u s y and  w e l l u n d e r s t o o d by  enough c r e d i b i l i t y  f o r Mme  imprudences a  c u r i o s i t y where l o v e  a l l those de  Mme  husband might  s a v o i r d a v a n t a g e que  b i e n des  the de  Nemours i s q u i c k  c o n f e s s i o n p u b l i c knowledge:  faire  to  achieve  l a d a u p h i n e and  i n the a f f a i r ,  d'en  Cleves's  content  code t o  way  s u s p i c i o n s t h a t her  l u i a d i t , peuvent f a i r e  mari"(p.  de  p r o f e r s more maxims  Cleves's  c o n f e s s i o n between Mme  Cleves. up  de  he  The  first  t o a l t e r Mme  o f Mme  cultural  intended  cerned  figures  i s l e s s and  which are  ne  a  alone  husband.  As  rely  p r o n o u n "on"  a r e a c t i o n which w i l l  silent,  (veiled)  a t i m e t o be  s u c c e e d s i n h i s s t r a t e g y s i n c e Mme  becomes e m b a r r a s s e d and  of  afflictions  t h i s maxim, f o l l o w e d by  indefinite  after  state  his first grandes  been  g r a n d s changements dans  c o n t r i v e d to f i n d  with  1  Nemours t r i e s  "Les  v l o l e n t e s . . . f o n t de  192).  has  present, Cleves,  to  have  "La l'on un i s con-  Nemours*s maxim  a c t i n g upon  this  71 insinuation,  to accuse  purpose i s two-fold: self, her  and  secondly,  her husband of t r e a c h e r y . first,  to s h i f t  a t t e n t i o n away f r o m  t o d r i v e a wedge b e t w e e n Mme  the  f i n a l m e e t i n g b e t w e e n Nemours and  t h e duke v o i c e s two a c t l y how  she  lutions will  and  maxims i n a n a t t e m p t  i s v i e w e d by him be  m i s t r e s s e s and  successful. few  and  Cleves  and  o f Mme  u n i t e d i n t h e one  de  woman:  a u d e g r e q u * e l l e s s o n t en v o u s . maftresses regardent  dont  stating and  t o show h i s l a d y  a v e c eux  ".  succeeds  does  roles  trouvees des  en l e s e p o u s a n t , e t  autres, l a conduite Unfortunately, l n  de  C l e v e s from  Still  belonging  h i s own  Cleves t h a t t h e i r marriage  i n voicing  worn o f f , he w i l l  ledge  he  Tous ceux q u i epousent  to  words.  once t h e  Madame, de  de  "II est plus d i f f i c i l e  r e s l s t e r a ce q u i nous p l a f t  aime'Mpp. 307-08).  He  he  about  glamour  c o n t i n u e h i s amorous c a r e e r .  t h i s t i m e a p p e a l i n g t o Mme  o f human n a t u r e :  this Instead  l a d y has  c o n f i d e n t o f h i s powers o f s e d u c t i o n , Nemours  approach,  lover,"  i s possible,  the e x a c t f e a r s t h a t the  h i m — N e m o u r s w i l l a l w a y s be a w o m a n i z e r , and  another  area  female  s o l e n t jamais  . . . " ( p . 305)•  e x c e p t s Mme  de  reso-  . . vous e t e s p e u t - e t r e l a  c a t e g o r y o f p e o p l e , Nemours i s t r a p p e d by c o n v i n c i n g Mme  ex-  one  t h e v e r y c r e d i b l e maxim, "Once a l o v e r , a l w a y s a  e v e n t h o u g h he  only  i n the  C l e v e s t h e two  l i s sont aimes, tremblent  eue  Cleves,  the r e a s o n — b u t  a v e c c r a l n t e , p a r r a p p o r t aux  q u ' e l l e s ont  de  Nemours h a s many o p i n i o n s r e g a r d i n g  s e u l e p e r s o n n e en q u i c e s deux c h o s e s  j  him-  the e x t e n t t o which her  a l a c k o f i t i n t h e o t h e r c o u l d be  c a n be  sez,  de  Mme  regarding wives—experience  t h i n k t h a t i n the case  has  1  husband. In  of  Nemours s  still  misjudges  Mme  de  tries  C l e v e s ' s knowque  v o u s ne  e t a ce  pen-  q u i nous  Cleves's  inner  72  s t r e n g t h and don  hopes t h a t he w i l l be able to persuade her to aban-  her r e s o l u t i o n s i n favour of the e a s i e r route of g i v i n g i n  to d e s i r e s and  pleasure.  r u l e s of h i s game. anything her, be  The  Nemours's i n t e n t i s c l e a r , as are conquest of the lady i s the g o a l ,  that could p o s s i b l y f l a t t e r  as to suggest a g e n e r a l l y  t r u t h which should be obeyed or a c t e d  and  her, unbalance her, f r i g h t e n  i s a p e r m i s s i b l e weapon, e s p e c i a l l y d e v a s t a t i n g  s t a t e d i n such a way  the  out.  i f i t can  accepted  73  Conclusion The maxims and g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s which are presented In La P r i n c e s s e de C l e v e s , both i n the n a r r a t i o n and  i n dialogue  between the c h a r a c t e r s , appear to support the c u l t u r a l code which i s I m p l i c i t i n Mme and t h e i r a c t i o n s .  de l a P a y e t t e ' s d e s c r i p t i o n s of people  They do not e x p l a i n the reasons f o r c e r t a i n  behaviour, nor do they g i v e a r a t i o n a l e f o r the  seventeenth-cen-  t u r y v a l u e s t r u c t u r e ; they merely r e s t a t e , i n e x p l i c i t  terms,  the r u l e s and r e s t r i c t i o n s which are imposed upon the members of the c o u r t .  The  s o c i e t y and  the author f o r the reader who  i t s v a l u e s are r e c o n s t r u c t e d by must remember t h a t , w h i l e he i s  o n l y a s p e c t a t o r and b a s i c a l l y u n i n f l u e n c e d by the c u l t u r a l code d e f i n e d i n the n o v e l , the c h a r a c t e r s must operate w i t h i n the bounds of t h e i r s o c i e t y ' s r u l e s as they are presented.  In other  words, t h e r e are two worlds presented i n the n o v e l , one which may  be o b j e c t i v e l y a p p r e c i a t e d by the reader, and one which sub-  j e c t i v e l y i n f l u e n c e s the conduct of the c h a r a c t e r s .  T h i s i s not  to say t h a t the two worlds are v a s t l y d i s s i m i l a r l n s u b s t a n c e — indeed, they are q u i t e a l i k e .  Where they d i f f e r i s i n the extent  t o which they have an e f f e c t on r e a d e r or c h a r a c t e r . For the r e a d e r , the use of maxims o r e x p l i c i t  statements  o f g e n e r a l l y accepted t r u t h s about l o v e , r o l e s , and human nature was  no n o v e l t y .  One  t e e n t h c e n t u r y was  of the popular p a r l o u r games of the  the p r a c t i c e of making up maxims which demon-  s t r a t e the I n d i v i d u a l ' s w i t and p e r c e p t i o n s of the world him.  seven-  The p o p u l a r i t y of l a Rochefoucauld's  about  Maxlmes a t t e s t s to the  i n 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.  I t must be remembered, however,  t h a t these maxims were mainly an instrument of amusement and  74  pleasure, with no serious consideration being given to t h e i r value as catalysts of s o c i a l change.  I t i s f o r t h i s reason  that the reader can read the maxims i n the novel and agree with the proposed code of conduct, and then go about h i s own l i f e governed byjonly those rules that he f e e l s apply d i r e c t l y to him.  For the characters i n La Prinoesse de Cleves, on the other  hand, the maxims i n the novel present s t r i c t rules of conduct and furnish j u s t i f i c a t i o n s f o r t h e i r 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 h i s theories on mistresses and b a l l s .  The r e s t of the generalizing statements about human  conduct and emotion have the underlying intent of j u s t i f i c a t i o n or strategy, when voiced by a character, and of s o c i a l judgement, when presented by the narrator.  The effects of the pre??  scrlptions of appropriate s o c i a l conduct, whether i m p l i c i t or e x p l i c i t , are keenly f e l t by the characters who f i n d  themselves  constantly i n c o n f l i c t when t h e i r desires cannot be accommodated within the guidelines of the c u l t u r a l code. The reader r e a l i z e s the omnipotence of the author where the events and actions of the novel are concerned.  He i s r e -  quired to draw upon h i s own s o c i a l experience to a r r i v e at a t o t a l understanding of how the f i c t i o n a l society operates, but he i s not bound by the prescriptions of t h i s society l n the same way that the characters are.  But just as the author imposes  l i m i t a t i o n s on the characters i n terms of what they may do and say, so the reader puts r e s t r i c t i o n s on how f a r the author's imagination and c r e a t i v i t y may go i n terms of c u l t u r a l v e r i s i militude.  Almost every subtle writer w i l l s l i p maxims or morals  into h i s work.  This technique was especially prevalent i n the  75.  eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when s o c i a l commentary and c r i t i c i s m was one of the animating forces "behind a n o v e l i s t ' s art.  Balzac was, of course, a master of the maxim which stereo-  typed human behavior to the f i n e s t degree, but he was by no means subtle i n h i s technique.  His value judgements were unequivocal,  leaving no room f o r the reader to project h i s own opinions or to make h i s own choices as to the r e l a t i v e worth, good or bad, of any p a r t i c u l a r character.  Mme de l a Fayette, i n 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 j u s t i f y a seemingly gratuitous sequence of events, the reader i s quite agreeable to them.  Problems do a r i s e , however,  when the generalizing statements do not conform to what i s commonly accepted as being true, or when the events of a novel do not correspond to what would be the normally expected actions i n r e a l l i f e under similar circumstances.  Several of the events  in La Prlncesse de Gleves f a l l into t h i s l a s t category and have been widely c r i t i c i z e d f o r a lack of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e since the e a r l i e s t appearance of the novel.  The most f e r t i l e area of d i s -  pute has been Mme de Gleves's confession, but also subject to discussion i s her declaration of love f o r Nemours and the apparently gratuitous death of M. de Gleves. Seventeenth-century  c r i t i c i s m of Mme de l a Fayette's novel  concerned i t s e l f with two general questions of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e : the h i s t o r i c a l and the c u l t u r a l .  Valincour i s the primary  c r i t i c of h i s t o r i c a l invra1semblanoe•  Upset by the numerous  deviations from h i s t o r i c a l facts, he examines the role of the novel as a genre i n r e l a t i o n to history as I t has been recorded by h i s t o r i a n s .  Mme de l a Fayette stated i n a l e t t e r to  76  Lescheraine that her novel would be better c a l l e d "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  t h i s l a s t statement too l i t e r a l l y , looking f o r an " h i s t o i r e secrete" where none e x i s t s .  I t i s not Mme  de l a Payette's pur-  pose i n La Prlncesse de Cleves to present h i s t o r i c a l facts; she wants to describe the effects of t h i s society's system of values, not just the d e t a i l s of the society i t s e l f . The question of c u l t u r a l vraisemblance  i n the novel i s  d i r e c t l y 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 I I , she i s r e s t r i c t e d as to what sort of people may  figure In i t and what shape may be given to t h e i r  moral structure. A l l of the characters' basic q u a l i t i e s — p h y s i c a l t r a i t s , mental adeptness, emotional  susceptibility—are  determined by the s o c i a l frame i n which they have been placed, and t h e i r actions are (or should be) equally well defined.  It  i s precisely t h i s predetermination of actions and a t t i t u d e s which leads into l a querelle de 1'aveu which started with de Sevigne and Bussy-Rabutin,  and which continues even  In t h e i r c r i t i c i s m of the novel, Mme  de Sevigne and  Mme  now.  Bussy-Rabutin  object to the confession on the grounds that i t does not conform to commonly expected practices l n t h e i r s o c i a l milieu.  They  are, i n one sense, examples of the i d e a l reader f o r whom Mme  de  l a Fayette's style of narration i s intended, since they would be able to appreciate-the subtle references to accepted practices and appropriate demonstrations be able to f i l l ments as "Mme  social  of emotion, and would  i n the d e t a i l s that are Implied i n such state-  de Cleves s o r t l t de l a chambre de sa mere en l ' e t a t  77 que  l ' o n peut  lui  c a u s e r e n t une  On  s'lmaginer  . . . " ( p . 173)  douleur q u ' i l  t h e o t h e r hand, t h e s e two  r e a d e r s who 1678)  are  by  i t c o u l d be  is  still  de  Cleves i s  correspond  view of s o c i e t y ,  i n t e n t may  be,  t h a t Mme  l a Payette's  criticism.  What-  vralsemblance  of La P r l n c e s s e  i n f o r m a t i o n which  modes o f d r e s s , and  Value  structures,  t o o , are an  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f an  the author's  Jonathan fines five  Culler,  c r e a t e s i t s own  l e v e l s of vralsemblance  t o a s t u d y o f L a P r l n c e s s e de "socially  given text  rules  of  choice of c h a r a c t e r s , a c t i o n , i n "Convention  and  place-  historical  a l l of these f a c t o r s are very general i n t h e i r  which a c t u a l l y  of  important  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  through  back-  styles  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  consideration i n a r e a l i s t i c  itself  may  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  chosen  ment o f t h e e v e n t s .  creation  i n terms of a s o c i o l o g i c a l  Methods o f t r a v e l ,  s p e e c h must a l l be  novel  code.  are blinded  i s a c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n the  f o r a c t i o n s and  drop which determines  and  social  concerned.  supply motives  But  de  the q u e s t i o n of  of a n o v e l o n l y i n terms of background  era.  April,  to the c u l t u r a l  t h e most a c t i v e a r e a where c r i t i c i s m  story.  the  e v o l v e b e y o n d a condem-  s o c i a l commentary a n d  H i s t o r i c a l vralsemblance  actual  of  e x a c t l y f o r t h e s e p e o p l e , who  i s intended—as  e v e r the a u t h o r ' s  practice  does not  253)•  s'imaginer"(p.  (and t h e m a j o r i t y o f  s t u d y and  that their c r i t i c i s m  their restricted  novel  paroles . . .  w r o t e t h e i r o p i n i o n s t o Le M e r c u r e G a l a n t ,  n a t i o n o f a c t i o n s w h i c h do n o t Indeed,  "Ces  e s t a i s e de  people  so i n v o l v e d i n t h e  blenseance  and  nature to  the  vra1semblance  and  setting.  Naturalization",  de-  of which three are r e l e v a n t  Cleves.  He  speaks  first  of  a  . . . which i s t a k e n as the  'real  world'."  78  His  second l e v e l deals mainly with c u l t u r a l vralsemblance which  would be supported by maxims, a "shared knowledge which would be recognized by participants as part of culture."  The t h i r d  l e v e l concerns "a s p e c i f i c a l l y l i t e r a r y and a r t i f i c i a l vralsemblance" which derives from the author's p a r t i c u l a r Imaginative world as well as from the expectations and l i m i t a t i o n s of a p a r t i c u l a r genre.  The fourth and f i f t h l e v e l s of vralsemblance  depend upon a d e f i n i t i o n of the s p e c i f i c genre to which a work belongs, with the fourth l e v e l dealing with works which deny that they belong to a specified genre (Jacques l e f a t a l l s t e ) and the f i f t h with works which employ parody and irony to gain a vraisemblance which derives from the o r i g i n a l work (p. 140). Since the genre to which Mme de l a Fayette's work belongs was not decided at the time, these l a s t two l e v e l s of vralsemblance do not enter into our discussion. are  The f i r s t two l e v e l s , however,  d i r e c t l y related to La Prlncesse de Cleves on the basis of  the s o c i o l o g i c a l p o r t r a i t which i s presented therein, and the t h i r d l e v e l can be related to the psychology of the author herself. Through her selection of contemporary  society f o r the set-  ting of the novel, Mme de l a Fayette's choice of characters i s r e s t r i c t e d to the type of people who exist i n t h i s 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 i n the novel are drawn from what we know to be natural attributes of human beings.  In t h i s sense, Mme de l a Fayette  i s f a i t h f u l l y observing Culler's f i r s t l e v e l of vralsemblance, that of the ' r e a l ' , f o r hers i s "a discourse which requires no j u s t i f i c a t i o n because i t seems to derive d i r e c t l y from the struc-  79  ture of the world.  We speak of people having minds and bodies,  as thinking, imagining, remembering, f e e l i n g pain, loving and hating, etc., and do not have to j u s t i f y such discourse by adducing philosophical arguments.  I t 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 i s featured i n the novel and has only to draw upon h i s own knowledge of people and the possible q u a l i t i e s which may be attributed to them to r e a l i z e the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of these descriptions. Gerard Genette defines le. vralsemblable as " l e principe formel de respect de l a norme, . . . 1*existence d'un  rapport  d'implication entre l a conduite p a r t i c u l l e r e a t t r i b u t e a t e l personnage, et t e l l e maxime generale impllcite et recue"(p.?475)•  Here we leave the realm of physical descriptions and enter  into that of actions and s o c i a l conduct.  We have seen that  Mme  de l a Fayette leaves out many of the d e t a i l s which pertain to courtly practices and everyday emotions and actions, r e l y i n g on the reader to draw from h i s own experiences to supply the t o t a l picture.  For background information, t h i s technique works because  both author and reader are aware of what actions constitute the norm i n t h e i r s o c i a l milieu.  The maxims of which Genette speaks  figure i n C u l l e r ' s second l e v e l of vraisemblance. "a range of c u l t u r a l stereotype or accepted knowledge which a work may  use  but which do not enjoy the same p r i v i l e g e d status as elements of the f i r s t type, i n that the culture i t s e l f recognizes them as generalizations"(Culler, p. 141).  Most of the maxims to  which the a c t i o n of La Prlncesse de Cleves responds are i m p l i c i t i n 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 s t r u c t u r e of the s o c i e t y may  be a d j u d g e d  "un  j u d g e m e n t s where t h e  i s concerned;  recit  dont  to t h i s  e x t e n t , the n o v e l  l e s a c t i o n s repondent  . . .  un c o r p s de maximes r e c u e s comme v r a i e s p a r l e p u b l i c 11  s'adresse  Mme  . . . " ( G e n e t t e , p. 7 6 ) .  t o be no maxim, i m p l i c i t verisimilitude The de  or e x p l i c i t ,  o f such an  event  a  auquel  B u t when a c t i o n s  de G l e v e s ' s c o n f e s s i o n a r e d e s c r i b e d and  moral  such  when t h e r e  appears  which a p p l i e s t o i t , the  i s open t o q u e s t i o n .  c u l t u r a l l y a c c e p t e d norm i s c l e a r l y d e f i n e d by  Mme  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  tween t h e c h a r a c t e r s , and t h e most p a r t ,  through  i s no  apparent  problem  although t h i s  i s accomplished,  i m p l i c i t means, t h e r e a r e some  s t a t e d maxims w h i c h r e l a t e  this are  explicitly  exemplify  category.  Her  There  c o n f e s s i o n and  her r e f u s a l  while  the  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, t h e h e r o i n e d o e s n o t f a l l  Into  t o m a r r y Nemours  s i g n s o f a b e r r a n t b e h a v i o u r s i n c e n e i t h e r c a n be e x p l a i n e d  by a c u l t u r a l l y i s never tury  for  to c u l t u r a l vralsemblance  t h e a c t i o n o f t h e n o v e l d e a l s w i t h p e o p l e who norm.  be-  to appropriate s o c i a l conduct.  relating  as  a d m i s s i b l e maxim. ^  B u t Mme  1  exemplary  of the conduct  expected  l a d y , as d i s c u s s e d i n our second  tant c r i t i c a l contained  question arises*  i n the c u l t u r a l  t e r s who  live  under i t ,  t e r s who  believe  we  from a  chapter.  and we  i s consistent with i t s prescriptions, chooses  is it,  n o t t o o r who  that  importhe  to a l l those  can a p p r e c i a t e that demonstrate  behaviour  seventeenth-cen-  Thus a n  can understand  code a r e a p p l i c a b l e  i n the code w i l l  t h a t a c h a r a c t e r who  de G l e v e s ' s  those  behaviour  rules charac-  characwhich  then, unbelievable  cannot  operate  the r u l e s o f t h e code s h o u l d opt f o r a c o u r s e o f a c t i o n i s n o t c o m p a t i b l e w i t h what i s g e n e r a l l y e x p e c t e d ?  within  which  In the  case  81  of Mme  de Gleves we are no longer concerned with a s p e c i f i c  c u l t u r a l vraisemblance but rather with a v e r i s i m i l i t u d e which must derive from the text and the character, independent  of  c u l t u r a l l y acceptable interpretation. This brings us to the t h i r d l e v e l of vraisemblance  cited  by C u l l e r , that of "the purely l i t e r a r y vraisemblance of a part i c u l a r imaginative world"(p. 145)• may  Culler maintains that a text  stand " i n a c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n to Its author and that i t may  therefore be naturalized or made i n t e l l i g i b l e by r e l a t i n g i t s elements to a p a r t i c u l a r psychological vraisemblance"(p. It i s precisely through.an understanding of Mme  146).  de l a Fayette's  conception of her creation, as well as the psychology of her outlook on society, that we may appreciate the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of Mme  de Cleves's confession and her r e f u s a l 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 important than the action of the novel (p. 135) •  The sequence of  events l n the novel, and even the events themselves, are important only l n that they provide the stimulus f o r Mme to r e f l e c t upon her emotions and intentions.  de Cleves  That Mme  de Cleves  i s the only character whose analyses are constantly indicated and recorded i s indicative of her d i s t i n c t i o n from the rest of the members of the court.  Her psychological c o n f l i c t s are her  private concern; she shares tham with nobody, not even her mother who  i s a somewhat similar i n d i v i d u a l .  At the root of Mme  de  Cleves's c o n f l i c t s are her respect f o r honesty i n a b a s i c a l l y dishonest s o c i a l environment and her sheltered upbringing which has given her an i d e a l i s t i c impression of the power of the  82 individual  to resist  the pressure  f i n d s t h a t open h o n e s t y conflicts has  (the confession)  than covert d u p l i c i t y ,  b a r e l y the s t r e n g t h t o f i g h t  exigencies o n l y way  o f h i s peer group.  When she  o n l y b r i n g s h e r more  and t h a t  she, a s an  individual,  h e r own d e s i r e s , l e t a l o n e  o f h e r s o c i a l g r o u p , Mme  de C l e v e s  she c a n g a i n any measure o f r e s p e c t  r e s o l v e s that the f o r herself i s to  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 o f t h i s Mme  de l a F a y e t t e  wrote i n a l e t t e r  the  t o Menage:  society.  "Je s u i s s i p e r -  suadee que l ' a m o u r e s t une c h o s e incommode que j ' a i de l a j o i e 1 ft  que  mes a m i s e t moi e n s o y o n s exempts."  love (M.  i s troublesome de C l e v e s  social free  de C l e v e s , t o o ,  s i n c e i t causes problems i n h e r marriage  demands i t ; she c a n n o t p r o v i d e  activities  i t ) and i n h e r  (Nemours p u r s u e s h e r a m o r o u s l y ;  t o r e s p o n d , a n d n e i t h e r d o e s she know Mme  F o r Mme  de C l e v e s ' s  she i s n o t  how.)  a n a l y s i s o f l o v e a n d i t s e f f e c t s upon h e r  forms t h e b a s i s f o r h e r r e s o l u t i o n s a t t h e end o f the n o v e l . She  recognizes  blindly  that  she i s u n i q u e i n h e r i n a b i l i t y  p u b l i c o p i n i o n and s o c i a l  c u s t o m , a n d she a l s o  that because of t h i s r e j e c t i o n o f the c u l t u r a l live Her  f o r any g r e a t refusal  to accept realizes  c o d e she c a n n o t  l e n g t h o f time i n the s o c i e t y o f the c o u r t .  t o m a r r y Nemours i s n o t a m a n i f e s t a t i o n  rant d e n i a l of s o c i a l  order  of a  a n y more t h a n h e r c o n f e s s i o n  flagis a  b r a v e a t t e m p t t o b r e a k down t h e 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 c o m m u n i c a t i o n between men a n d women i n t h i s are  these  expressions  o f Mme  such a s o c i a l  o f Mme  Neither  two a c t s b o l d d e m o n s t r a t i o n s o f a n i n d i v i d u a l a s s e r t i n g  h i s f r e e d o m a n d r e j e c t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l norm.  ln  society.  de C l e v e s ' s  environment.  de C l e v e s ' s  knowledge t h a t Mme  They a r e she c a n n o t  de l a F a y e t t e ' s  resolutions Is reflected  simply survive  tacit  approval  i n the f i n a l  sentence  83  of  the novels  " E l l e passalt une partie de l'annee dans cette  maison religieuse et l'autre chez e l l e ; mais dans une et dans l e s occupations plus saintes que c e l l e s des les  retraite  couvents  plus austeres; et sa v i e , qui fut assez courte, l a i s s a 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 f o r her to act i n 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 Cleves and Mme  de l a Fayette understand  de  so w e l l — a n d fear so  rightly. The picture of seventeenth-century  society which i s c l e a r l y  represented i n La Prlncesse de Cleves through both Implicit description and e x p l i c i t statements attests to the author's talent f o r observation and recreation of what she has Mme  de l a Fayette's world--the actual society of the  seen. seventeenth  century—provides her with the raw materials f o r 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 c u l t i v a t i o n " .  l a Fayette's contemporaries bllity,  Mme  de  l i v e d "a l i f e dedicated to s o c i a l  to p o l i t e s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l intercourse as a t o t a l  style of existence"(pp. 6-7), but she herself sees through the veneer of a r t i f i c i a l r e f l e c t e d i n Mme at  emotions and a c t i o n s — a n d t h i s i s what i s  de Cleves's attitude toward society and  the end of the novel.  life  The i m p l i c i t c u l t u r a l code which  governs the characters' actions i n the novel forms the basis  84  for  what Brooks c a l l s worldliness. "an ethos and personal manner  which indicate that one attaches primary or even exclusive importance to ordered s o c i a l existence, to l i f e within a public system of values and gestures, to the s o c i a l techniques  that  further t h i s l i f e and one's position i n 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  i n t h i s way  of l i f e .  This prototype of the roman d'analyse i s  also i n s i s t e n t l y about c o u r t l i n e s s , or the worldliness of the court"(p. 68).  Mme  de Cleves's r e j e c t i o n of Nemours i s a re-  j e c t i o n 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 i n "Convention and Naturalization" i n S t r u c t u r a l i s t Poetics (Londons Routledge & Kegan-Paul,  1 9 7 5 ) »  p. 140. •^Culler, "Convention and Naturalization"; Gerard Genette, "Vralsemblance et motivation" i n Figures II (Pariss Editions du S e u i l ,  1 9 6 9 ) ,  PP.  7 7 - 9 9 -  ^Bernard Pingaud, Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme (Pariss Editions du S e u i l ,  1 9 5 9 ) ,  PP.  142-47.  ^Madame de l a Fayette, La Prlncesse de Cleves et autres romans (Pariss Gallimard,  1 9 7 2 ) ,  pp.  2 6 9 - 7 2 .  from the text r e f e r to t h i s e d i t i o n .  A l l quotations  Page numbers w i l l be  indicated i n parentheses immediately following the quotation. ^The marriage between the King of Spain and Madame Elizabeth described by the dauphine (pp.  I9O-9D  i s exemplary of t h i s  attitude. 7  M l l e de Chartres's s i t u a t i o n (pp.  143-44,  146-47)  illus-  trates the importance of both family and royal sanction i n matters concerning marriage.  Only a f t e r 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 i n c l i n a t i o n p a r t i c u l i e r e pour sa personne"(pp.  148-49).  86  8 The need f o r a good a l i b i  * i s impressed upon Mme de C l e v e s  by h e r mother when the p r i n c e s s e does n o t want t o a t t e n d M. de Saint-Andre *s b a l l s  "Mme de C h a r t r e s . . . l u i d i t q u ' i l  fallait  done q u ' e l l e f f t l a malade pour a v o i r un p r e t e x t e de n'y pas . a l l e r , parce que l e s r a i s o n s q u i l ' e n empechaient  ne s e r a i e n t  pas approuvees e t q u ' i l f a l l a i t meme empecher qu'on ne l e s soupconnat"(p. 166).  o The d e s c r i p t i o n of the v a r i o u s members o f the c o u r t (pp.  131-32) c o n t a i n s many statements about what i s expected  of men i n t h i s s o c i e t y i n terms o f a c t i o n s , and p h y s i c a l  responsibilities,  traits.  *^Some o f the female r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s a r e l a i d out by Mme de C h a r t r e s (pp. 137, 151» 152) w h i l e e d u c a t i n g h e r daughter. Others a r e i n t e l l i g i b l e through the a c t i o n s of the v a r i o u s c h a r a c t e r s and through the I m p l i c i t v a l u e judgements presented by the author. ^The  dauphine, w h i l e t a l k i n g t o Mme de C l e v e s about Nemours's  l e t t e r , makes i t c l e a r t h a t honesty has no p l a c e i n t h e i n s t i t u t i o n o f marriages qui  ". . . i l n'y a que vous de femme au monde  f a s s e c o n f i d e n c e a son mari de t o u t e s l e s choses q u ' e l l e  s a l t " ( p . 233).  12 "La  c o n f i a n c e e t l a s i n c e r i t e que vous avez pour moi sont  d'un p r i x l n f i n l s vous m'estimez assez pour c r o i r e que j e n'abus e r a i pas de c e t aveu. ai  Vous avez r a i s o n , Madame, je n'en abuser-  pas e t je ne vous en a i m e r a i 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 l e f e r a l avec une s i n c e r i t e que vous trouverez malaisement dans l e s 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 p a r t i c u l a r reference to Mme de Cleves herself, a j u s t i f i c a t i o n for  the non-conformist t a c t i c s of the declaration of love f o r  Nemours which follows. 14  Nemours encourages t h i s opinion with a maxim r e l a t i n g to the  understandable c u r i o s i t y and jealousy which a husband might  f e e l i n a similar situation.  This maxim w i l l be discussed l a t e r  since i t more appropriately belongs to our part dealing with the manipulation of other characters. ^Mme  de l a Payette says that the meeting i n the vidame's  appartments i s the f i r s t time that the two f i n d themselves "seuls et en etat de parler"(p. 300), the  first.  but t h i s episode i s r e a l l y  I t establishes a rationale f o r Mme de Cleves*s sub-  sequent refusals to be alone with Nemours since she understands only too well the meaning and intent of h i s words. "^Pingaud gives a b r i e f sketch of the c r i t i c a l responses to the  novel i n Mme de l a Fayette par elle-meme, pp. 1 4 2 - 4 7 , and  Genette touches upon the subject i n "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) e d i t i o n used as primary reference.  88 L i s t of Works C i t e d  Brooks, Peter.  The Novel of W o r l d l i n e s s .  U n i v e r s i t y Press, C u l l e r , Jonathan. Kegan-Paul,  Londons Routledge &  1975.  Pariss Gallimard,  Pingaud, Bernard.  Princeton  1969.  Structuralist Poetics.  l a Payette, Madame de.  Genette, Gerard.  Princetons  La P r i n c e s s e de Cleves e t a u t r e s romans. 1972.  Figures I I . Mme  P a r i s s E d i t i o n s du S e u i l ,  de l a F a y e t t e par elle-meme.  E d i t i o n s du S e u l i , 1959*  1969.  Pariss  

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