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Just Sceaux Stories

Angelica Goodden, 23 February 1995

Madame duDeffand 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 duDeffand, edited by Chantal Thomas.
Rivages, 215 pp., frs 55, October 1994, 2 86930 839 6
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... It is as well to establish at the outset what Madame duDeffand 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 ...

Miserable Creatures

C.H. Sisson, 2 August 1984

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... is not one of those whose communications one reads for their own sakes, as one does the letters of Madame de Sevigné, Madame duDeffand, Edward Fitzgerald – or indeed of William Cowper, the new edition of whose Letters and Prose Writings has just reached its fourth volume. Yet ...

Bouvard and Pécuchet

C.H. Sisson, 6 December 1984

The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Correspondence of George Lyttelton and Rupert Hart-Davis. 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 193 pp., £13.50, April 1984, 0 7195 4108 5
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... first volume appeared. Be that as it may, the letters are not an accidental growth, like those of Madame de Sevigné, Madame duDeffand, Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, Edward FitzGerald or indeed the great Swift himself. They bear the same relationship to such products as do those ...

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