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  • Halban Publishers

Madame Du Deffand And Her World

Benedetta Craveri

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

18th century literary salon hostess

Lively debauched youth, would even shock modern society

Witty correspondence with key thinkers of the time: Voltaire and Horace Walpole

Madame du Deffand (1696-1780) was a minor French aristocrat who, bored by her marriage, threw herself into scandalous relationships with leading noblemen, including the French Regent. She later re-invented herself as a highly successful salonniere, her salon being frequented by leading thinkers of the day. She also maintained very witty, perceptive correspondences with Voltaire (whose letters back are full expositions of his philosophy) and later with Horace Walpole with whom she fell deeply in love, much to his shock.

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