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Model Letters from “Amorous Letters” (1641)1

Model Letters from “Amorous Letters” (1641)1

Chapter:
(p.44) Model Letters from “Amorous Letters” (1641)1
Source:
Selected Letters, Orations, and Rhetorical Dialogues
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226144122.003.0003

This chapter explores Madeleine de Scudéry's model letters from “Amorous Letters.” Here Scudéry both offers standard formulary models of business letters (the letter asking a patron or friend for a favor, for example) and also adapts the form to a novel-like construction of a relationship between two loving women. In addition, she adapts humanist rhetorical forms, the letter, the oration, and the dialogue, to women. Much as Christianity rejects people who could not care less about salvation, moral philosophy rejects them for happiness. These are the sort of people who complain [all the time] and for whom enlightenment increases misery, since it serves only to show them the entrance to many labyrinths [of ethical quandary] from which there is no exit. In one of her letters, Scudéry calls her goddess—she asks her to pierce all the way to her heart to see the affection that she cannot express.

Keywords:   Madeleine de Scudéry, modal letters, Amorous Letters, Christianity, moral philosophy, happiness, enlightenment, women, affection, business letters

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