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Henriette-Julie de Castelnau, Comtesse de Murat (1670–1716)

Author of A Trip to the Country

Includes the names: comtesse de Henriette Julie de Castelnau Murat, Henriette-Julie de Castelnau, Comtesse de Murat

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Henriette-Julie de Castelnau was born into an ancient noble family in Brittany and inherited the titles and property of her father on his death when she was only two years old. Although little is recorded of her childhood, she is known to have been presented at the French Court of Louis XIV at age 16. In about 1686, she married Nicolas, comte de Murat, a military officer, and had a son. The couple soon separated. The young comtesse had an active social life and developed a reputation for easy virtue; later in life, in her memoirs, she fought against the confined role of women in her society. Madame de Murat frequented the literary salon of the Marquise de Lambert, where she met some of the female writers of the time, including Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy, who encouraged her writing career. In 1694, Madame de Murat published her first work, a novel called Histoire de la courtisane Rhodope, which was badly received at court -- the king exiled her to a château in the provincial city of Loches for eight years. She published her Contes de fées (Fairy Tales) and Les Nouveaux Contes des fées (New Fairy Tales) in 1698, and her final collection of tales, Histoires sublimes et allégoriques (Sublime and Allegorical Stories), in 1699. Her works often combined the fashionable 17th-century fairy tale with Greco‐Roman mythology. She wrote several other novels, including Les Lutins du château de Kernosi (The Elves of Kernosi Castle), published in 1710.
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