Article of the Week

Article of the Week: How the Princess of Cleves Brought Down Sarkozy

This week’s article of the week comes, once again, from The New Yorker. Written by Elisabeth Zerofsky, “Of Presidents and Princesses” draws a direct correlation  between Nicolas Sarkozy‘s lost bid for re-election as French president and his stance on traditional French culture. More specifically,  his attacks on the French literary classic The Princess of Clèves (1678) by Madame de Lafayette.  Madame de Lafayette’s book is required reading in classrooms across France, much like To Kill a Mockingbird in the United States. Zerofsky traces how Sarkozy’s “princess” problem went viral. The end result: the first socialist French president since Francois Mitterrand.  Whatever your politics, this article provides an interesting point of cross-cultural comparison with our most recent presidential campaign in the United States.

 

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2 thoughts on “Article of the Week: How the Princess of Cleves Brought Down Sarkozy

  1. Extremely interesting article. Have never read The Princess of Cleves but the brief synopsis offered reminded me of Anna Karenina and I wonder what other similarities the two might share. I loved this: “One Muslim father points out that the advice of Mme. de Chartres, the Princess’s mother, about the tranquility to be found in a virtuous life and the deceits of men that lie in wait for pretty girls, is what every parent says to his children, and editorializes on the dangers of daughters who decide with their hearts.”

    Of course it didn’t help the re-election bid that Sarkozy’s brother is in a liasion with one of the Olsen twins. How scandalous. 🙂

  2. Yes, Sarkozy certainly dug himself a hole on many issues. Although, I didn’t hear about the Olsen scandal. It will be interesting to see how France’s new-ish president fares with the financial chaos in Europe.

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