Madame de Sévigné
1626 – 1696 A.D.
Madame de Sévigné, a French writer, celebrated for her Letters, chiefly written to her daughter. Her maiden name was Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, and at eighteen she married the Marquis de Sévigné, by whom she had a son and a daughter.
The marquis, in 1651, was killed in a duel by a rival in a sordid intrigue, and Mme. de Sévigné at the moment of her widowhood was but twenty-five, brilliant in her beauty and fascination. Yet she never married again, and without hesitation embraced the holy vocation of motherhood to which she was to give such complete and exquisite impression.
After her daughter’s marriage to Count de Grignan, Governor of Provence, Mme de Sévigné began to write those famous letters from Paris which have come down to us; letters unrivaled for their fresh charm, shrewd wit, and easy gayety [sic] of heart. They form an almost complete and familiar chronicle of the court and high society of the time (1669 – 1695), during the reign of Louis XIV.
Thomas Davidson says:
“Madame de Sévigné’s twenty-five years of letters to her daughter reveal the inner history of the time in wonderful detail, but the most interesting thing in the letters remains herself. In the midst of an age of gilded corruption, her name remains without a stain. Her heart was occupied by an intense devotion to her children, and a warmth of friendship almost beyond example. For no one ever had so many and such devoted friends – no woman ever knew like her how to transform a lover into a friend.”
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.