The Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun

Gabriel de Guilleragues


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Hesperus Press Ltd
1 June 2024
ISBN: 9781843919292
48 pages

From the publisher

Stendhal wrote in “ Life of Rossini” : “ It is necessary to have loved as implacably as the Portuguese Nun, and with all the unquenchable ardour of which she has left us so vivid an echo in her immortal Letters” First published in 1668 by then small Parisian bookseller Claude Barbin, the Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (known in French as “ Portuguese Letters translated into French” or “ Portuguese Letters” ) witnessed immediate success. It is one of the first fictional epistolary novels that inspired many to come in French literature, such as Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and Julie by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Love Letters comprise of five love letters written by a Portuguese nun cloistered in the Franciscan convent of Beja to the French officer who went to Portugal to support the Portuguese in their war of independence against the Spanish and had loved her and left her. The letters showcase a remarkable depth of psychological insight into the inner workings of a woman in love, bearing witness to a gradual yet pivotal development of self-awareness and an elegantly controlled depiction of passion.