…and that’s probably okay. It’s old, it’s French, and there’s a lot of crying. I get it. But I think you might be doing yourself a little disservice. Sure, the beginning is impenetrable, what with all the Duc of this and the Vidame of that, and there are about eleventy princesses who aren’t the Princess of Cleves. I still get it. But if you want to understand how the novels we read today came to be, and if you want to try and understand another human being who isn’t you, or me, or your co-worker with the Successories calendar, but who aches in ways that are new for her time, and who pleads in ways that are new for his time, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you read The Princess of Cleves. It’s pretty good.

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