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Disambiguation Notice

Do not confuse or combine her with Marie Adrienne Françoise (known as Adrienne), Marquise de Lafayette (1759–1807), French émigré and memoirist married to Gilbert du Motier, the famous Marquis and General de Lafayette who fought in the American War of Independence.

The Princesse de Clèves 2,031 copies, 52 reviews
La Princesse de Montpensier 56 copies, 4 reviews
The Comtesse de Tende 9 copies, 2 reviews
L'amor geloso 7 copies
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Short biography
Madame de La Fayette, née Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, was born into a wealthy and well-connected family of French minor nobility. Her mother attended the duchesse de d'Aiguillon, a niece of Cardinal Richelieu. Her father, Marc Pioche, who added de La Vergne to the family name, died when she was 15. A year later, in 1650, she became a maid of honor to Queen Anne of Austria and began to acquire a literary education from the scholar Gilles Ménage, who taught her Italian and Latin. He also introduced her to the circle of précieuses who frequented the fashionable literary salons of Madame de Rambouillet and Madeleine de Scudéry. In 1655, Marie-Madeleine was married to François Motier, comte de La Fayette, a widower twice her age, with whom she had two sons. She accompanied him to his family estates in the Auvergne, although she returned frequently to Paris, where she successfully opened her own salon at her home, a sumptuous private mansion in the rue de Vaugirard. Madame de La Fayette became a close friend of Princess Henriette-Anne of England, future Duchess of Orléans, who asked her to be her biographer. With the encouragement of Ménage, Madame de La Fayette decided to take up writing. The only work of which she signed her own name was a short portrait of her friend Madame de Sévigné, which appeared in a collection entitled Divers Portraits. In 1662, she published La Princesse de Montpensier, a historical short story, under the pen name of Segrais. In 1669, she published the first volume of a novel called Zaïde, also under the name Segrais, with the second volume appearing in 1671. However, her most famous and lasting work was La Princesse de Clèves (The Princess of Cleves), first published in 1678, which was an immediate success. It is considered France's first historical novel, and a prototype of the early psychological novel as it explored the relationships between individuals in a new, realistic context. La Princesse de Clèves is still taught in high schools and universities around the world. Madame de La Fayette led a less active social life in her later years. Three of her works were published posthumously: La Comtesse de Tende (1720), Histoire d’Henriette d’Angleterre (1720), and Mémoires de la Cour de France pour les années 1688 et 1689 (Memories of the Court of France, 1731).
Disambiguation notice
Do not confuse or combine her with Marie Adrienne Françoise (known as Adrienne), Marquise de Lafayette (1759–1807), French émigré and memoirist married to Gilbert du Motier, the famous Marquis and General de Lafayette who fought in the American War of Independence.

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