The Kings' Mistresses
The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin
By Elizabeth C. Goldsmith
(PublicAffairs, Hardcover, 9781586488895, 288pp.)
Publication Date: April 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The little-known story of two spirited sisters who flaunted every social convention of 17th century Europe in their determination to live independently
Elizabeth C. Goldsmith is a professor of French at Boston University. She has written books on literature in the age of Louis XIV, focusing on letter correspondences and women’s writing. She teaches courses on seventeenth-century theater and the novel, travel writing, and historical fiction.
"The story of the 17th-century version of the Kardashian sisters, but with the added touch of brains, literacy and class…. [T]he story moves along at a swift pace…. [F]ascinating."
"[A]n atmospheric, absorbing tale of 17th-century female media stars taking charge of their own lives."
"This ribald tale works all the better because it is true…. Culling their correspondence and memoirs, Goldsmith is able to paint a vivid portrait of two remarkably daring free spirits who paved the way for centuries of women stifled and exploited by both men and societal constraints…. Revolutionary, cutting-edge, and inspiring, their lives are worthy of revisiting."
Library Journal"Goldsmith presents the sisters as pioneers who embraced notoriety by publishing accounts of their unconventional lives. Their prominence during the emergence of print journalism prompted debates on women’s rights, marriage, and property laws….[A] spirited account that humanizes the experiences of 17th-century women.”