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Just Sceaux Stories

Angelica Goodden, 23 February 1995

Madame du Deffand and Her World 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
Halban, 481 pp., £20, November 1994, 1 870015 51 7
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Lettres à Voltaire 
by Madame du Deffand, edited by Chantal Thomas.
Rivages, 215 pp., frs 55, October 1994, 2 86930 839 6
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... to establish at the outset what Madame du Deffand was not. She was not, whatever the publisher of Benedetta Craveri’s book may claim, a woman who ‘approached love and sex with a frankness centuries ahead of her time’: her time was the 18th-century Regency, which took a casual view of fidelity, and the hedonistic age of Louis XV. She died in the ...

Twilight Approaches

David A. Bell: Salon Life in France, 11 May 2006

The Age of Conversation 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
NYRB, 488 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 1 59017 141 1
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... in their social composition, in the role women played, and in their relationship to literary life. Benedetta Craveri’s book on the salons, The Age of Conversation, first published in Italy in 2001, often resembles the fable more than the reality. To be sure, it is grounded in serious research. Craveri has read through ...

I shall be the God whom she will have preferred

Caroline Weber: Libertinage, 6 May 2021

The Last Libertines 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Aaron Kerner.
NYRB, 620 pp., £32, October 2020, 978 1 68137 340 9
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... libertinage co-existed uneasily with revolutionary liberté. A similar tension runs through Benedetta Craveri’s The Last Libertines, a group portrait of seven French aristocrats, contemporaries of Laclos and Sade. Craveri notes in the preface that her title refers to ‘libertinism in its broadest sense’, by ...

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