17th Century Memoirs
English language books
The Transvestite Memoirs of the Abbe de Choisy by François-Timoleon De Choisy, Abbé de Choisy ~ By a whim of his mother, Francois Timoleon de Choisy—better known as the Abbé de Choisy—was dressed as a girl until the age of 18. After a short spell in male attire he became, by all accounts, the classic transvestite—a male heterosexual who never attempted to disguise his biological sex while going about in public in full female attire. Choisy’s fascination with feminine accoutrements made him something of an expert on women’s fashions, and prominent society women even brought their daughters to him for advice. His increasingly extravagant toilettes and exhibitionist behavior eventually earned him a public rebuke and exile from Paris. This study recounts the scandalous and entertaining escapades for which Choisy is best known today in a light, intimate, and accessible style. These authentic memoirs provide a firsthand account of manners and morals in late 17th-century society as well as remarkably exact portraits of his contemporaries, constituting a remarkable document in the history of transvestism.
The memoirs of Hortense and of Marie Mancini, edited and translated by Sarah Nelson ~ The memoirs of Hortense and of Marie Mancini, nieces of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin and members of the court of Louis XIV, represent the earliest examples in France of memoirs published by women under their own names during their lifetimes. Both unhappily married, the sisters chose to leave their husbands for life on the road, a life quite rare for women of their day. Through their writings, the Mancinis sought to rehabilitate their reputations and reclaim the right to define their public images themselves, rather than leave the stories of their lives to the intrigues of the court—and to their disgruntled ex-husbands.
The Way to Present the Gardens of Versailles by Louis XIV ~ Written by Louis XIV himself, this book is a guide on how to walk the gardens of Versailles, alone or in company, for the best possible effect of splendor.
Selected Letters by Marie de Rabutin-Chantal de Sévigné, translated by Leonard Tancock ~ One of the world’s greatest correspondents, Madame de Sevigne (1626-96) paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society and literary circles, whose close friends included Madame de La Fayette and La Rochefoucauld, she reflected on both significant historical events and personal issues, and in this selection of the most significant letters, spanning almost fifty years, she is by turns humorous and melancholic, profound and superficial. Whether describing the new plays of Racine and Moliere, speculating on court scandals including the intrigues of the King’s mistresses or relating her own family concerns, Madame de Sevigne provides throughout an intriguing portrait of the lost age of Le Roi Soleil.
Memoirs Of The Court Of France From 1684 To 1720, translated from the Diary of the Marquis de Dangeau with notes by J. Davenport ~ The memoirs of the Marquis de Dangeau bring you to the middle of the court of Louis XIV with all it’s intrigues and day to day events.
Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency by the Duc de Saint-Simon ~ Louis de Rouvroy Saint-Simon was a French courtier. Today he’s best known for the comprehensive multi-volume memoirs, which depict life in France at the time.
German language books
Briefe der Liselotte von der Pfalz von Liselotte von der Pfalz ~ Unbeeindruckt von höfischer Etikette und unabhängig in ihrem Urteil erzählt Liselotte von der Pfalz von ihrem Leben am französischen Hof zur Zeit Ludwigs XIV. Sie nimmt dabei kein Blatt vor den Mund: Klatsch und Tratsch, Affären und Intrigen am Hof, Alltagskuriositäten aus der Stadt Paris, Schikanen von seiten der Maitresse des Königs und der homoerotischen Günstlinge ihres Mannes, aber auch Ausläufer der großen Politik werden brühwarm geschildert und kommentiert, in einer herrlich direkten und bunten Sprache. Die vorliegende Ausgabe ist völlig neu bearbeitet und mit einer Einführung, Wort- und Sacherklärungen, Stammbäumen, Porträts und Ortsansichten versehen.