Aza! Mon cher Aza!

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“Aza! mon cher Aza! les cris de ta tendre Zilia, tels qu’une vapeur du matin, s’exhalent & sont dissipes avant d’arriver jusqu’a toi; en vain je t’appelle a mon secours; en vain j’attens que tu viennes briser les …” From the “Lettre Premiere” of Madame de Graffigny, Lettres d’une peruvienne. Nouvelle edition augmentée de plusieurs lettres, et d’une introduction à l’histoire (Paris : Chez Duchesne Libraire …, 1752). Beinecke call number: 1998 1243.

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The original break-out novel, Madame de Graffigny’s Lettres d’une peruvienne (1747) achieved almost immediate fame. Graffigny’s life to that point had not lacked interest: separated in 1718 from her husband, widowed in 1725 under mysterious circumstances, Graffigny left the court of the Duchy of Lorraine in 1736 after the Treaty of Vienna. She settled in Paris in 1739, after a two-month stay at the house of Voltaire and Madame du Chatelet which had ended in a falling-out. Her success with the Lettres d’une peruvienne was followed by the triumph of her play Cenie at the Comedie-Francaise.

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For more on Madame de Graffigny, whose correspondence with her confidant of twenty five years, Francois-Antoine Devaux, is held in the Beinecke’s collections, see Beinecke Gen MSS 353, the Graffigny Papers.

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