Lafayette, Madame de (Marie-Madeleine) "The Princess of Cleves" (French: La Princesse de Clèves) - 1678
This is another classic novel from Jane Smiley's book "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel". I couldn't find this in French, so had to get it in English from the library. But it was quite interesting nevertheless. I think Madame de Lafayette had a good knowledge of life at the French court at the time, in the sixteenth century, and therefore the story about the Princess of Cleves seems very realistic.
If you like classic novels and want to learn more than just about nineteenth century England, this will be one for you.
From the back cover:
"One of the great glories of French literature is this colorful and poignant love story, often described as the first of all 'modern' novels. First published in 1678 and written by Marie Madeleine Roche de la Vergne, Countess de Lafayette, a Parisian lady of wit and fashion, who probably received help with it from her friend the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, author of the famous 'Maxims', it recreates with matchless vitality the lives and loves of the courtiers of King Henry II who reigned in the middle of the Sixteenth Century. 'The Princess of Cleves' is like an exquisite French tapestry whose brilliant colors and romantic figures have lost nothing of their first freshness. For the consuming passion of the young Duc de Nemours for the beautiful wife of his friend the Prince of Cleves will always be one of the classic love stories of all literature."