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Against or For Marriage? Reconfiguring Freedom and Power

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with Montpensier’s various positions against and for marriage, all of which were part of a process that starts from seeing marriage as a means to becoming a queen, evolves into privileging celibacy and autonomy, and shifts to reconsidering marriage again, but as an instrument sanctioning love with a man of her choice, Antonin Nompar de Caumont, comte de Lauzun. In the end, Montpensier returns to an earlier position advocating female autonomy. This evolution of her views appears plainly in her memoirs and her correspondence with Madame de Motteville. In architectural terms, these stages parallel the types of homes in which she lived or which she built during the same periods. For instance, the Tuileries, the palace she occupied until her first exile, represents the set expectations for a woman of her rank; Saint-Fargeau and Champigny-sur-Veude evoke her princely and royal lineages; Eu embodies the life of celibacy she envisioned; and, finally, Choisy-le-Roi, a palace she designed and built from scratch soon after her failed marriage to Lauzun, corresponds to her renewing a lifelong search for liberation from paternal, kingly, and marital authority.



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