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Title: Noblewomen and family fortunes in seventeenth-century France and England : a study of the lives of the Duchesse de la Trémoïlle and her sister-in-law, the countess of Derby
Author: Kmec, Sonja
ISNI:       0000 0001 2122 9064
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis offers an analysis of the Huguenot nobility under Richelieu and Mazarin, based on the example of one of the most prominent French Protestant families, the La Trémoïlle of Thouars, and examines the bonds that existed with members of the family who married abroad, such as Charlotte de La Trémoïlle, who was wedded to James Stanley, future earl of Derby, in 1626. By privileging the female point of view, this investigation attempts to overcome the nationalistic frame, which characterises traditional historiography. It brings to the fore a trans-national network of support, based on a common religious outlook and family alliances. The main focus is on the friendship between Lady Derby and her sister-in-law, Marie de La Tour, duchesse de La Trémoïlle, a relationship cultivated through an epistolary exchange that stretched over forty years. The analysis of the lives of these two women, who originated from the same social milieu but were exposed to very different political cultures, highlights similarities and divergences of the female condition in seventeenth-century France and England. The duchesse de La Trémoïlle and the countess of Derby promoted themselves as well as their family through active interventions in landed administration, architectural and artistic patronage, and court politics. Duchess Marie played, moreover, an important role in the patronage of the Reformed churches, despite the conversion of her husband, Duke Henri, in 1628. There is no attempt at a generalisation; instead this thesis offers a critical appreciation of the freedom of action individual noblewomen could enjoy within the patriarchal framework of both countries. Exceptional political circumstances, such as those created by the English Civil War, might have made it easier for women to intervene in the 'public sphere', but the very distinction between 'public' and 'private' realms in the seventeenth century is called into question by this study.
Supervisor: Briggs, Robin Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: history