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Gossip, Sexuality and Scandal in France (1610-1715)

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Nicholas Hammond

This volume is the first book-length study devoted to gossip in early modern France. Whereas many works that focus on other countries and periods have concentrated on the relationship between gossip and women, none has explored the crucial link between gossip and same-sex desire. Using material that has never been published before and touching on different social spheres, from valets to the immediate circle of Louis XIV, the author reveals a world radically different from the traditional image of France under the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. An in-depth analysis of the theory and practice of gossip is followed by an examination of songs, poems, memoirs, letters and anecdotes from the time, bringing the milieu of what was known as ‘the Italian vice’ vividly to life. The book concludes by bringing these insights on gossip to a refreshing new reading of one of the period’s groundbreaking novels, Marie-Madeleine de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves.

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Acknowledgements -vii

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Acknowledgements I owe so much to so many people in writing this book. They know how much I appreciate their encouragement, friendship, practical help and advice: Michelle Baddeley, Edmund Birch, Todd Breyfogle, William Brooks, Bruce Bruschi, Bill Burgwinkle, Cambridge French Department, Siobhán Carew, Jorge Castro-Correia, Jan Clark, Terry Crawford, Michael Daly, Mark Darlow, Ariane Denis, Delphine and Alexis Denis, Mark Dowd, Heidi Ellison, Gary Ferguson (who read and commented on an earlier draft), James and Aude Fitzsimons, Philip Ford, Simon Gaunt, Martin Gibson, Emma Gilby, Hannah Godfrey (of Peter Lang), Russell Goul- bourne , Liz Guild, James Helgeson, Christophe Hirat, Marcus Hodges, Alex Hughes, Ros Hunt, Heather Jarman, Jill Jondorf, Sarah Kay, Neil Kenny, Alex Kudrin, Peter Lay, John Leigh, Gemma Lewis (of Peter Lang), Richard Maber, Jenny Mander, Michael Moriarty, Subha Mukherji, Ian Ormesher, Richard Parish, Noel Peacock (early modern editor for Peter Lang), Joseph Pearson, Julia Prest, Jamie Rinder, Frances and Paul Robin- son, Fiona Sinclair, Jan Smaczny, Judy and Nick Sproxton, Edward Stratton, Stephen and Katie Tuck, Tarquin Ukarnis, Bren Unwin, Richard Unwin, Daniel Van Tonder, Nick White, Gary Whitlock, Rupert Wilkes, Emma Wilson, Emilia Wilton-Godberf forde. This book is dedicated to Camilla and Michael Bloch, and to Ann and Michael Caesar, for their generosity and unquestioning support.

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