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Untitled map (in English) of the “Pays du Tendre”

  • Author: DE SCUDÉRY, Madeleine
  • Date: [1655]1678
  • Dimensions: 29 x 20 cms


A rare English edition of Madeleine de Scudéry’s important 17th Century “galant” map of the “Pays du Tendre”

About this piece:

Untitled Map (in English) depicting the Pays du Tendre (after the original French issue first published in Clélie, [Paris 1654])

29 x 20 cms. Uncoloured. Central fold and extra vertical fold to right side of image. Wide margins. One small rust mark in blank margin on left and single worm hole at lower left corner of blank margin. Overall a very fine example.

Most allegorical and imaginary maps of love and matrimony can trace their underlying stylistic and intellectual roots back to the milestone map of the Pays du Tendre first created by French intellectual and authoress, Mlle Madeleine de Scudéry [1607-1701], to illustrate her galant historical novel, Clélie, first published in Paris in 1654.

This example is a later English edition of the map from a 1678 London translation of the work, Clelia, an Excellent New Romance. Interestingly all of the English editions of de Scudéry attributed the work not to Mlle de Scudéry herself but to her elder brother, dramatist and writer Georges de Scudéry [1601-1667]. Only one of his many works has escaped obscurity – L’Amour tyrannique [1640]. He had been favoured by Richelieu during the 1630’s and 1640’s, and was appointed Governor of Notre Dame de la Garde near Marseilles in 1643 and appointed to the Académie Francaise in 1650.

The story of Clélie has its roots in the quasi-mythology of early Rome, the figure of Clélie or Cloelia being one of Roman hostages taken by the Etruscan leader Lars Porsena as part of the final peace treaty that brought the Etruscan War with Rome to an end in 508 B.C. Cloelia escaped her Etruscan captors and fled back to Rome with a group of young Roman girls, initially on horseback then finally swimming the Tiber. As the Roman historian Livy noted :

“A young lady called Cloelia, one of the hostages, evaded the vigilance of the guards, and, at the head of a band of her companions, swam across the Tiber, through a shower of darts discharged at them by the enemy, and restored them all, in safety, to their friends at Rome.”

– Livy, Ab Urbe Condita

Of course Porsena demanded Cloelia’s restitution to him, which duly took place, but he was so impressed by her bravery that he allowed her to offer freedom to half of the remaining Roman hostages still held in the Etruscan camp. Cloelia selected all of the young Roman men, those fit and able to continue the fight against the Etruscans. For her actions, Cloelia was commemorated by the Roman authorities with a special equestrian statue positioned at the top of the Roman Via Sacra.

In de Scudery’s account, the map was a device by which, through the interactions of the characters within the novel (in which Cloelia becomes the object of the rival affections of two male heroes, Aronces and Horatius) she sought to delineate & define diagrammatically, the landscape and topography of mid 17th Century “galanterie”, that is platonic friendship between the sexes where natural passions and emotions were to be moderated and checked by a clearly codified set of social conventions and established moral virtues.

So it is that Cloelia draws up in half an hour the survey depicted here, “a Map effectually designed with her hand, which taught us how we might go from New Amity to Tender, and which so resembled a true Map, that there was Seas, Rivers, Mountains, a Lake, Cities and Villages,…” [Clelia, 1678 edition, p.43]

In an appeal well ahead of its time, de Scudéry’s aim was to justify her own status as an independent single woman, emancipated from the social and cultural constraints of matrimony. The map was also an attempt to reference the contemporary social order in France and the intellectual world of the Parisian salon, in which a highly educated & literate single woman, such as de Scudéry, might interact and ally herself to influential and powerful men of the political and cultural elite without any implicit expectation of amorous liaisons that might compromise her independence, social position or reputation.

So it is that de Scudéry provides a plan of the various routes by which the would-be traveller might journey from the settlement of New Friendship to the three settlements of Tender : Tender-upon-Recognizance (where Recognizance equates to something akin to its older meaning of “recognition”) upper left, Tender-upon-Inclination upper centre and Tender-upon-Esteem upper right, each situated on those three eponymous rivers.

As the author notes, “Tenderness which is produced by Inclination, hath not need of any conformation, so that no villages or settlements appear along this route, “the river running with such a rapid course, that there can be no lodging along the shore”, in other words Tenderness arising from Inclination springs forth and progresses rapidly without any intermediary staging posts from the starting point of New Friendship.

By contrast to reach Tender-upon-Esteem, progress is made by means of the small and great things which contribute to the protection of it by esteem of this Tenderness,

“Beginning with Great Spirit, in pursuit you see those agreeable villages of Pleasing Verses, Amorous & Gallant Letters, which are the ordinary productions of the greatest spirits in the beginning of Friendship, and for to make a greater progress in that way, you see Sincerity, Great H(e)art, Honesty, Generosity, Exactness, Respect and Goodness, which are all against (i.e near) Tender.”

This is to make it evident that there cannot be true Esteem without Goodness, and that we cannot hope to reach that destination without being “endowed with that precious quality”.

To reach Tender-upon-Recognizance the route is via Complaisance (Complacency) and from thence to that village named Submission, and which is almost joined to another called Small Cares and thence by Assiduity, to show “that it is not sufficient to have that small obliging care which give so much Recognizance if we have them not assiduously”. The route leads onward via Empressment (to show that we should not do “as those slow people which will not hasten a moment what entreaty soever is made of them”) and thence to Great Services (where it is noted that there are few men which render such). Thence the route leads via Sensibility (“to make us know that we must be lively touched with the least afflictions of those we love”) and onwards via Obedience and Constant Friendship, for its is only in constant mutual friendship that one can hope arrive at Tender-upon-Recognizance.

For those who err from the allotted path, the consequences can be disastrous. If, en route to Tender-upon-Esteem, we deviate to the right, after Great Spirit, we go to Neglect, “and if we continue this deviation, we go to Inequality, Lukewarmness, Lightness and Oblivion (Forgetfulness) and instead to find ourselves at Tender on Esteem we are at the Lake of Indifferency”…..Equally, anyone deviating to the left from the allotted route to Tender-by-Recognizance, will find themselves on the path to Indiscretion, Perfidiousness, Pride, Mischief and Obloguy, reaching the shores of the Sea of Emnity, “where all vessels are shipwrackt” .

The moral message of the map is expounded ever more clearly to the reader (Clelia, 1678 English edition, p.43 ) :

She (Clelia) likewise makes us see by these different ways, that we must have many noble qualities to oblige her to have a tender friendship; that those which have bad ones can only acquire her hatred or indifferency, and she willing to describe to us in this map that she never had love, nor would have anything but tenderness in her heart, makes the River of Inclination cast itself into the Sea which is called the dangerous Sea, because it is dangerous for a woman to exceed the limits of friendship, and she makes in pursuit that beyond this Sea is that we call Unknown Lands, because in effect we know not what they are and we believe that no person can go further than Hercules his pillars, so that in this manner she hath moralized by a pastime of her fancy, to make us understand in a peculiar manner, that she never yet loved not could ever receive any.

It is interesting that de Scudéry’s work proved popular in England, being first translated into English in 1655 with subsequent editions during the early Restoration period in the 1660’s and 1670’s. Indeed some authorities have suggested that de Scudéry’s model of galanterie may have heavily influenced the young Stuart Prince, the future Charles II, during his exile in France in the 1650’s, to the extent that it became a template for courtly manners and etiquette at the new English Restoration Court, post 1660, perhaps thereby explaining the rise of several high profile independently-minded influential women within King Charles II’s gilded inner circle. The galant argument perhaps falls a little flat when it transpires that many of these same women would also, in time, become mistresses of the new King!

Certainly marriage does not feature anywhere on de Scudéry’s map, its absence being part of the latter’s argument that women should be entirely emancipated from the bonds of matrimony. Such a position personified her heroine Cloelia in the novel and was reflected in her own determined reservation of the title “Mademoiselle” throughout her long life and in all of her published works.

Refs: Franz Reitinger : Mapping Relationships: Allegory, Gender and the Cartographical Image in Eighteenth Century France and England, in: Imago Mundi 51 [1999], pp.106-130, esp. pp.111-112