Died on this day – 17 April

Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné, born in 1626, is best remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter, Francoise.  In 1669 her daughter married a nobleman from Provence where her husband was lieutenant governor. Mme de Sévigné was very close to her daughter, and sent her the first of her famous letters on 6 February 1671. Their correspondence lasted until Mme de Sévigné’s death some twenty-five years later.  By 1673, Mme de Sévigné’s letters were being copied and circulated. Therefore, she knew that her letters were semi-public documents and crafted them accordingly.  Mme de Sévigné died in Montmorillon on 17 April 1696.  Her letters were first published in 1725 and more fully in 1735-54.  The letters provide a unique portrait of Paris under Louis XIV.

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